Plantar Warts – Everything to Know About this Annoying Foot Wart

The Plantar Wart Appears on the Bottom of the Foot

What are they?

A plantar wart is a tiny abrasion that is normally found under the soles of the feet and at times on the toes. They appear to be disfigured and sore and appear to be small black spots in the early stages. 

As the  wart develops further, it changes its appearance into a cauliflower-like shape and the color changes to brown. In addition, a black spot is present in the middle due to bleeding. This is why they are also sometimes referred to as seed warts. The black spots are actually broken blood vessels.

Having a plantar wart on your foot can be truly painful because the weight of the body places pressure on warts which pushes them deeper inwards when standing or walking. They can grow even deeper into the skin until there is discomfort and pain. They thrive in areas of the feet that are callused and thick.

These kinds of warts are also considered as hard warts that normally grow on the bottom part of the soles. Since they grow inside the surface of the feet, they can really be uncomfortably painful. Some people who experience such would say that it’s as if you’re walking all day on a stone.

The type 1 and 2 human papillomaviruses (HPV) strains are almost always the cause of plantar warts. These are easily transmitted from one person to another through direct skin to skin contact or through surfaces touched by someone infected. These are highly contagious. HPV type 1 and 2 flourish in warm and moist areas like swimming pool decks and shower rooms.

At times, small plantar warts start off growing in one spot on the surface of the sole and show a plaque-like cover for smaller plantar warts.  Due to the mosaic look of smaller plantar warts’ plaque, they are then termed as mosaic warts.

These are common to people with weak immune systems like children, people with immunodeficiency and the elderly. An infection can be transferred effectively through direct skin contact when a plantar wart is open. Not only can it be transferred through skin contact but can also be transferred to another person in some public areas like public bath areas or pools.

This is not in any way harmful long-term but can be really painful when acquired because of the pressure exerted when walking. To effectively remove a plantar wart, it normally requires treatment.


The initial occasion a person is alerted to being infected with plantar warts is when the affected area is hurting whilst walking unless you have some other reason for an inspection by a doctor. Upon checking the soles of the feet have an uncommon and unpleasantly dry bump that feels delicate and painful especially when pressure is applied.

Seed Corn vs Plantar Wart

Often times, plantar warts are misinterpreted as calluses or corns, which may appear like a wart but is quite different from a plantar wart. Corns are coats of dead skin that thickens in areas of your body that are affected by consistent irritation. As mentioned in the earlier portion of the article, plantar warts have small black spots present within the bump and these spots are blood vessel clots. On the other hand, calluses are smooth, firm and have a hard center.

Plantar warts would either grow individually or in clusters which are called mosaic warts (the cluster of plantar warts). They normally have a Cauliflower-like form especially when it’s already fully developed. It has black spots in the center or within the bump which are caused by clotted blood vessels. It may be painful due to the pressure exerted from walking, but it may not be painful when it is still initially growing. When it starts developing, it shows bumps that are elevated.

On the other hand, corns appear individually. They are minute, firm and smooth. They are apparently round in shape. It is actually just dead skin that is hard in the center. It may or may not be painful at times. There is a possibility that it might also show some form of redness and inflammation of the skin around the edges of the corn.

 Causes of Warts on your Feet

The main cause of this annoying infection is human papillomavirus or HPV. HPV normally grows in areas that are moist and warm like shower rooms, bathrooms, swimming pools, etc.

As mentioned previously, this pathogen is highly infectious and can even survive without a host for a considerable number of months. The only way a person can get infected is through direct contact with the person or something they have touched. An example is when you use an infected person’s personal items like a bath towel.

It can increase your chances to get infected when you have wounds, abrasions or any other skin openings. For example, if a person who’s infected by plantar warts is walking barefoot on the floor and a clean person walks the same path barefooted, there is a huge chance that the clean person could get infected because parts of the virus are discharged in the surface where the infected person walked. The chances are accelerated with open cuts.

Removal of Plantar Foot Warts 

Having plantar warts is not dangerous at all in a long-term view. They may be painful at the time but it’s nothing you should be worried about as long as you treat them. While they are annoying, these foot warts are non-cancerous, but it can be really annoying at times and it could be a burden to look for effective remedies of how to get rid of these kinds of warts. There are various treatments readily available to take care of these lesions.

Initially, when the plantar warts are painful (due to the pressure when placing your feet flat on the floor, standing or walking), you may change your posture to take the weight off the wart. However, doing so may lead to discomfort in the muscle or joint pain.

In most cases, these warts naturally dissipate in several months or years. Whenever warts on your toes or foot are painful, it is best to ask for professional help as recommended. Despite all the various plantar wart treatments available, studies show that there is not a single treatment that can completely eradicate one every time.

There is no absolute guarantee of this variety of warts not recurring in an infected person.

There are natural plantar wart treatments. But some might take time to complete the process. A cost-saving plantar wart home remedy which is also effective is done by boosting your immune system.

Choose foods that are major immune system boosters. You can also look for antiviral herbs as they can also help improve your immune system to fight against viral infections. You can also intake Zinc as a pill or apply it directly to the infected area as an ointment. Zinc naturally fights the virus that causes warts to develop.

A readily available way for you to start getting rid of warts on the feet is through the use of Salicylic Acid which you can buy from your nearest local pharmacy. The medication is then applied in the affected area once a day. The medication will then help disintegrate the viral cells in the plantar wart. It takes about four weeks for the plantar wart to be removed.

For a more serious case or for widespread plantar warts that have already started to cause pain, a more aggressive therapy or treatment (like Cryotherapy) may be needed. And for this, you would do it through professional help from a Podiatrist or Chiropodist.

With cryotherapy, it is mainly done by freezing plantar warts using liquid nitrogen which would cause swelling around the wart. As soon as the blisters are ready to pull off, a part or all of the wart may be removed. It is said that it is more effective when Salicylic Acid is applied to warts right after healing.

Another plantar wart treatment is through Electrosurgery. The process is a bit more painful as an electric needle is applied in the center of the plantar wart. It is then removed right after it becomes hot and boils.

Laser surgery is another method for removing plantar warts. However, this is a bit more expensive compared to the other methods. What it does is it heats the blood vessels in plantar warts through pulses of a laser that is released. After the process, the wart then sheds off by itself.

A common natural  removal method you will read about is the duct tape wart removal method. This is done by placing a small piece of duct tape to cover up the plantar wart or by using a combination of duct tape and Salicylic Acid. For further information on how to use duct tape to remove seed warts and foot warts please click here.

As a caution, some of the methods presented may be a bit painful and would at times need repetition until results are achieved.

If you see early signs and symptoms for a plantar wart, you must attend to it right away. If not treated in time, the bumps on warts will start to show up.

However, the best-case scenario is just to keep yourself from being infected in the first place. Using flip-flops in the shower or spa is always a good idea.

As mentioned earlier, children, elderly and people with immunodeficiency are more prone to being infected with HPV. So, it is crucial that preventive measures are set to avoid being infected with the virus. Wearing closed footwear especially in warm and moist public areas like swimming pools, public, and shower rooms will help keep yourself from being infected.


Common misspellings: planter Warts, planters warts, planter wart


1. The Mayo Clinic, Plantar Wart Pamphlet

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