Warts are a common, benign, skin disorder that is seen on the feet. Warts, called verruca in medical terms, are caused by a viral infection of the skin. The virus that causes the infection is called the human papillomavirus. The virus is often picked up around swimming pools and in showers. Warts are mildly contagious and can be spread from person to person or from one part of the foot to another or from the foot to other parts of the body. Warts are at times confused with corns or calluses because they typically are covered with thick skin however warts often have pinpoint black discoloration within them. Warts are often located on the bottom, or plantar surface, of the foot and this is where the term "plantar wart" arises. Warts have nothing to do with plants or gardening.
The treatment of warts is typically broken down into 2 categories: Topical treatment and surgical excision. Many topical compounds are used in the treatment of warts. Some are applied by your podiatrist in the office and some are applied at home. Typically a combination is used. Topical treatment can be successful in some cases. In other cases, surgical excision is necessary. This can be performed in the office under local anesthesia with minimal discomfort. Recurrence is possible with any of the treatments. Your podiatrist will discuss methods to reduce the chance of recurrence. Typically, the sooner a wart is treated, the easier it is to eradicate.