What is a plantar wart on the foot?


Quick Answer

Plantar warts are hard, grainy-textured, noncancerous growths that occur on the bottom of the feet. They are caused by exposure to the human papillomavirus and are very common, especially in children, says Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

Most plantar warts are the size of a pencil eraser or smaller, although they can occur in clusters, called mosaic warts, says WebMD. They may be uncomfortable or unsightly, but they are not generally painful. The warts occur when the HPV virus enters the body through a small cut or abrasion in the skin, and they can be transmitted by contact with a surface touched by another person who has the virus. Walking barefoot in places where the virus is commonly found, such as public showers, may increase the risk of contracting the HPV virus, and people with compromised immune systems may be more vulnerable to contracting HPV, says Mayo Clinic.

Plantar warts are harmless and generally go away on their own, but over-the-counter and prescription remedies that include the active ingredient salicylic acid can be effective in treating them, says Mayo Clinic. They may also be frozen off using a liquid nitrogen treatment called cryotherapy, which causes a blister to form around the plantar wart; the dead tissue sloughs off in the following days.

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