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What Are Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts are a skin growth caused by a viral infection called the human papillomavirus, or HPV. The growths form on the bottom of the foot and are solid and grainy or bumpy in appearance. Also known as verruca plantaris or simply verruca, plantar warts typically form at the heel, toe, or ball of the foot. Pressure in these areas often forces the wart to grow inward instead of outward.

Symptoms of Plantar Warts

The main symptom of plantar warts is the growth itself. Plantar warts are usually:

  • Small, with a rough or grainy texture
  • White, gray, or tan in color, often with black pinpoints (sometimes called wart seeds)
  • Hard when they grow inward
  • Located near or on a callus

Your child may also feel pain or tenderness in the area around the plantar wart, particularly when standing or walking.
Plantar warts may also form in a cluster. These are sometimes referred to as mosaic warts.

What Causes Plantar Warts in Children?

Plantar warts are caused when HPV enters the body through a weak spot or opening in the skin on the sole of the foot.

There are more than 100 types of HPV; the virus is very common. However, not every type of HPV causes plantar warts. In addition, not everyone who contracts HPV develops warts. Much depends on your child’s immune system.

Risk Factors for Plantar Warts

The HPV strain that causes plantar warts loves a warm, moist environment. Risk is highest in children who walk barefoot around public pools or shower rooms. Additional risk factors include:

  • Age, with children and teens at greater risk than adults
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • A history of plantar warts
  • Walking barefoot

Please note that walking barefoot is especially risky if your child has any open sores, cuts, or dry skin cracks on their feet. Skin is also more fragile when it’s soft and wet, such as after bathing or swimming.

How to Prevent Plantar Warts

Protect your child’s feet against plantar warts by following these tips:

  • Keep feet dry and clean
  • Change socks and shoes every day
  • Do not walk barefoot around swimming pools or public showers or locker rooms

If your child already has plantar warts, they can prevent the condition from spreading by:

  • Not picking at the wart
  • Cleaning hands thoroughly after touching their feet
  • Using a disposable emery board or buffer around the wart – and not using it anywhere else on the foot


When to See a Pediatric Podiatrist for Plantar Warts

Schedule an appointment with your child’s podiatrist if:

  • You aren’t sure whether the lesion is a plantar wart
  • Your child is experiencing pain
  • The plantar wart is bleeding
  • The wart’s appearance or color changes
  • Your child has diabetes or poor sensation in their feet
  • Your child has a weakened immune system

Never attempt to treat a plantar wart yourself! Due to their inward growth, safe self-treatment is nearly impossible with plantar warts.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Plantar Warts

To diagnose plantar warts, a podiatrist egins by examining the child’s foot. He’s looking for common signs of verruca, particularly the dark pinpoints, which are actually tiny blood vessels. The doctor may send a small portion of the lesion, known as a shave biopsy, for testing to verify that it is a plantar wart.

Without treatment, plantar warts last for a year or more. The infection may also spread to other parts of the foot. That’s why a podiatrist recommends removal whenever possible.

How Does the Podiatrist Treat Warts?

Since a wart is a virus, that virus has to be completely eradicated to truly get rid of the wart. Wart treatment is a delicate thing because the podiatrist has to remove the virus without taking the healthy tissue around it. Treatment options include freezing the wart off, injecting the wart with a medicine that can kill the virus, or chemical wart removal. The podiatrist can also treat warts by laser. Although laser surgery is technically surgery, it is a highly specialized and minimally invasive way to get rid of the warts for good.

Dr. Zinoviy Rabinovich D.P.M., Board Certified Physician and Surgeon of Foot and Ankle – a doctor who is on time, who looks at and listens to you and not the computer, who provides immediate relief and follows through to complete satisfaction. Experience, expertise, convenience of scheduling, evening hours, and a personal innovative approach for all your and your children’s foot care needs. Northbrook 847-297-9660, Crest Hill 815-838-9505 or book online at

Доктор Зиновий Рабинович – board certified врач и хирург стопы и голеностопного сустава. Опыт, экспертиза, удобство записи, и индивидуальный, заботливый, инновационный подход для вас и ваших детей. Northbrook 847-297-9660, Crest Hill 815-838-9505. 

Лікар Зіновій Рабинович – board certified лікар і хірург стопи і гомілковостопного суглоба. Досвід, експертиза, зручність запису, і індивідуальний, турботливий, інноваційний підхід для вас і ваших дітей. Northbrook 847-297-9660, Crest Hill 815-838-9505 або записуйтеся онлайн на В офісі розмовляють українською.

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