Diagnosis & Treatment of Plantar Warts (Verruca Plantaris)

Often referred to medically as verruca plantaris, plantar warts are non-cancerous growths that develop under the skin in the feet. These growths arise from direct exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV). For most patients, plantar warts are benign, only bringing about slight discomfort. Though in the worst cases, plantar warts can be unsightly and also produce irritation and pain.

Causes of Plantar Warts

A person can develop plantar warts when the top layer of the skin on their feet comes into direct contact with HPV. When this happens, the immune system attempts to fight the virus. And the resulting tissue build-up forms into a plantar wart.

Plantar warts typically come in two different varieties:

  • Solitary warts that develop on their own away from other warts; and
  • Mosaic warts cluster together in groups, making it more difficult to treat effectively. 

Symptoms of Plantar Warts

When a person develops plantar warts, the most common symptom is an enlarged bump growing under the skin in the feet. These hard lumps of skin do not generally produce serious pain. But if plantar warts progress in severity, the thickened skin can cause pain or irritation. Many of these patients find it painful to stand, walk, or bear weight on the affected foot. 

Diagnosis of Plantar Warts

The diagnostic process for plantar warts usually centers on a physical examination. A doctor or similar medical professional will inspect the wart in detail, evaluating growth thickness and painful symptoms. In certain situations, a doctor might use a scalpel to check for signs of clotted blood vessels. And in other cases, a doctor might need to conduct a biopsy by removing a piece of the plantar wart for laboratory analysis.

Treatment of Plantar Warts

Any person suffering from plantar warts should consult with their doctor to isolate appropriate treatment options. Even though plantar warts are often painless — and in some cases, can heal on their own — self-treatment is not recommended for this type of condition.

Depending on the patient’s unique needs, a doctor might suggest any of the common treatment options below:

  • Topical Medication — Certain patients benefit from prescribed creams, gels, or lotions that are applied topically to plantar warts;
  • Liquid Nitrogen — In more developed cases, a doctor can use liquid nitrogen to freeze and remove plantar warts; or
  • Surgical Intervention — In severe cases, patients may need to undergo laser or traditional surgery to remove plantar warts. 

In this context, it is important to note that plantar warts can reappear, even after successful treatment. As a result, patients should monitor the affected area after treatment and report any issues to their doctor immediately. 

Obtain Medical Treatment for Plantar Warts

If you need medical treatment for plantar warts, it can be decidedly helpful to consult with a trusted orthopaedic surgeon. At the Orthopaedic Associates of Riverside, our physicians have board-certified credentials and a demonstrated focus on orthopaedic conditions, such as plantar warts. To obtain medical treatment for plantar warts or other orthopaedic conditions, contact us today!


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