Warts on feet occur when the human papillomavirus, or HPV, attacks the skin of the feet soles, according to Mayo Clinic. However, not all types of HPV cause warts on feet; some of them cause warts on other parts of the body. Warts that attack the feet are called plantar warts.
The reaction of the human body to HPV varies from one person to another depending on the person's immune system; hence, some individuals may fail to contract warts despite coming into direct contact with the virus, explains Mayo Clinic. Additionally, the chances of contracting plantar warts through direct contact with an infected person are slim because the types of HPV responsible for plantar warts are less contagious. However, an individual risks contracting plantar warts when he comes into direct contact with damp surfaces because the viruses survive in such areas. For instance, an individual risks contracting plantar warts when he walks barefoot in locker rooms. In this case, HPV enters the body through openings on the skin, such as cracks due to dryness, cuts or skin softened by a prolonged stay in water.
In addition to individuals who walk barefoot on wet surfaces, other vulnerable people include teenagers and young children, people who have previously suffered from plantar warts and those with weak immune systems, notes Mayo Clinic. However, plantar warts can attack any individual irrespective of these factors.