Plantar warts appear on the bottom of your feet and may be painful and unsightly. They are caused by a virus that loves warm and moist conditions. People sometimes get them when they walk around barefoot in wet and warm areas such as locker rooms and swimming pool decks. Not everyone responds to the virus the same way, meaning that some people will not develop plantar warts when they come into contact with the virus.

Identifying warts

Plantar warts get their names from the location where they are found on the body. These warts are very common and frequently appear on children. They are located on either the heels or balls of the feet where the most pressure is placed when walking. While some people are nervous, believing that the plantar warts might be malignant, these warts are noncancerous skin growths. They occur when you walk on infected surfaces. This particular strain is not the same one as the strain that causes genital warts, however.

10 percent of the U.S. population suffers from plantar warts.

They are also not harmful although they may make your feet feel irritated or uncomfortable. If you don’t get your warts treated, they may eventually disappear within two years. It is unlikely that you will want to wait for that time period to pass due to the pain, discomfort and embarrassment that they feel because of the appearance of the warts.

Feet on floor

What do they look like?

Plantar warts tend to be small in size and generally are no larger than the eraser of a pencil. Some warts may grow larger, however. Warts may also grow in a cluster, which is called a mosaic wart.

Plantar wart look likePeople sometimes mistake calluses or corns on their feet for plantar warts. Some warts appear to have black dots sprinkled throughout. This makes some people refer to them as seed warts. Plantar warts do not have “seeds,” however. The black spots are simply blood vessels that have grown into the wart. Finally, plantar warts are fairly flat instead of raised like other warts appearing elsewhere on the body. This is partially due to the pressure that is placed on them when people walk. Are plantar warts contagious? Learn more by reading this article.

Caused by a common virus, plantar warts are not cancerous. People should take preventative measures to keep from catching or spreading warts by always keeping their feet covered in locker rooms or showers or covering warts with bandages when going swimming.


Some of the signs and symptoms of plantar warts include the following:

  • A lesion that interrupts the ridges and lines of the bottom of your foot.
  • A thick, hard callus that appears over a defined area, which is where a wart has grown inward due to pressure.
  • A growth on the bottom of your foot that is grainy, fleshy, rough and small.
  • Black spots contained within a lesion or rough area that look like seeds but which are actually clotted blood vessels.
  • Tenderness or pain from the same area when you stand or walk.

There are some situations that might prompt you to see your doctor when you have a lesion on your foot. If you have diabetes or a condition that causes you to have reduced sensation in your feet, it is important for you to receive treatment under a doctor’s supervision. If the plantar wart is painful to the extent of restricting your activities, a doctor’s visit may also be in order. Any lesion that changes color or appearance should prompt a visit to your doctor. If you have a condition that weakens your immune system or have received treatment that weakens the immune system, you will want to see your doctor. Finally, visiting your doctor if you have a lesion that you are not sure is a wart is important so that you can get an accurate diagnosis. To learn about plantar wart treatment, read this article.

What causes plantar warts

Plantar warts may result when you get an infection of one of the strains of HPV that cause them. There are more than one hundred different strains of HPV, and only a few may cause plantar warts. Other HPV strains may cause warts on other areas of your body.

Plantar warts are caused by direct contact with the HPV

In order for you to get warts, the virus needs to have an area in which to enter.

This entry point may include any of the following:

  • Through abrasions or cracks,
  • Through cuts,
  • Through wet, soft skin.

Not everyone who comes into contact with HPV will develop plantar warts. It will depend on the person’s immune system and how susceptible he or she is to infection.

People who are more likely to develop the problem include:

  1. Children.
  2. Anyone whose immune system is weakened.
  3. Those who walk around barefoot in places where the virus lives.
  4. Those who have already had warts in the past.

What causes warts on feet

You may develop plantar warts on the soles of your feet. In many cases, they appear on the balls of your feet or on your heels. These areas of your feet are where the most pressure is applied when you walk. This can also leave them likelier to callous and crack, leaving entry points for the HPV virus.

Plantar warts are caused by HPV 1, 2 and 4.

Plantar and mosaic wartsIf you enjoy swimming or going to the gym, you should remember that the virus that causes plantar warts loves areas that are warm and moist. This makes it likely that the floor of the locker room and the area around the pool may have HPV virus present. If you spend a long time in the water, the skin of your feet may also be wet, soft and fragile, leaving a good entry point for the virus to infect the outer layers of your soles.

How do you get warts on your feet? You may have damaged skin areas on the soles of your feet that are small enough that you don’t notice them. These tiny cracks, abrasions or cuts may allow HPV to enter into the outer layer of your skin and cause plantar warts to form. Because of the pressure that you place on the warts while you walk, they may grow inward and cause pain. If you wonder whether to cut out a plantar wart, read this article for more information.

What causes warts on toes

While they are not as common as warts on the balls or heels of your feet, it is also possible to develop plantar warts on your toes. These are caused by the same viral strains that cause warts to develop on the other parts of the foot. If you have small cracks, cuts or abrasions on your toes and come in contact with the virus, you may develop plantar warts on your toes.

There are several ways that you can avoid exposing yourself to human papillomavirus. Wear shoes or flip-flops in moist, warm areas. Keep your feet dry. Do not touch warts on other people or on your feet. Don’t share shoes or socks with other people. Try to avoid irritating the bottoms of your feet.

Plantar wart between toesSince it is likeliest to be exposed to the virus when you are barefoot, you should wear shoes when you are in public areas, including bathrooms, locker rooms and public swimming areas. Employing good foot hygiene can help you to avoid getting plantar warts on your toes and feet as well as to avoid other types of infections and foot problems.

Plantar warts may be uncomfortable and unsightly, but they don’t last forever. When you understand the causes of plantar warts, you can take steps to avoid getting exposed to the virus that causes them in the future. If you have diabetes or another condition that affects your ability to feel with your feet, see your doctor about your plantar warts. Always make sure to wear shoes in areas that the virus loves, keep your feet dry and don’t borrow other people’s shoes or socks so that you can reduce the chance of getting plantar warts again in the future.

You can find further details of Plantar warts here.