Why Do I Have Warts on the Bottoms of My Feet?

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Why Do I Have Warts on the Bottoms of My Feet?

Why Do I Have Warts on the Bottoms of My Feet?

Like warts elsewhere on your body, plantar warts are a form of skin infection caused by strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). While warts may be a cosmetic concern elsewhere, warts on the bottom of your feet (the plantar region) can be painful enough to interfere with your mobility. 

Visit Hudson Valley Foot Associates when plantar warts start to slow you down. Our podiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of these benign bumps that can cause tenderness and pain as you stand or walk. 

What causes plantar warts?

Warts are the visible signs of HPV infection. There are over 200 strains of HPV, though only some of them cause warts. When the HPV virus enters your body through a cut or other break in the skin, the infection starts an overproduction of a hard protein called keratin in the outer skin layer. 

This excess keratin forms the bumpy and hard texture of a plantar wart. Our doctors diagnose plantar warts with a visual examination of the bumps on your feet, and they may confirm this with a biopsy to reveal the presence of an HPV strain. 

Plantar wart symptoms

Compared with other warts, plantar warts may seem smaller, but much of a wart can be hidden below the surface, so symptoms might seem severe even when the wart itself is small. Signs and symptoms of plantar warts include: 

  • Thick and rough texture that might resemble cauliflower in bumpiness
  • Wart “seeds,” black or brown blood clot spots that resemble tiny poppy seeds
  • Different color than your skin, such as brown, dark pink, gray, purple, or yellow
  • Discomfort, tenderness, or pain at the location of the wart
  • Bleeding in the wart area

Common locations for plantar warts are on the heel or ball of your foot, and around and between your toes. Plantar warts sometimes form in clusters called mosaic warts. 

Home remedies

If your plantar warts aren’t causing major problems, there are some home remedies that can help you get rid of these bumps, though they tend to put up more resistance than warts in other places. Plantar wart remedies include: 

  • Salicylic acid cleansers, with 20% to 40% strength, can break down the keratin layers to the point where you can remove the wart after several weeks of treatment
  • Apple cider vinegar has both acetic acid and malic acid, a great combination for twice-daily treatments for several weeks
  • Duct tape also breaks down plantar wart layers to the point you can pull out the wart after a few weeks

Our doctors offer additional solutions, such as: 

  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrocauterization
  • Immunotherapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Topical treatments
  • Surgical removal

Plantar warts are contagious, so don’t share shoes, socks, towels, or washcloths to prevent transmission. If you don’t have plantar warts, an HPV vaccine may help you avoid the problem in the future. 

Hudson Valley Foot Associates has five locations to serve you. Contact the nearest office by phone or online to schedule a plantar wart exam. We’ll have you stepping lightly in no time, so plan your visit today.