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The Condition

When the human papillomavirus infects the skin, a wart (or verruca) can form. This process creates a growing, painful lesion involving the soft tissue of the foot that can make walking and standing difficult. Most commonly found in children, these contagious lesions typically appear on the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot. They can develop as a single lesion or in a cluster (mosaic configuration) of many lesions growing together in one area. As the wart grows and the skin thickens, patients may see tiny black specks on the surface of the wart. These black specks are actually dried blood from underlying capillaries that feed the wart.

The Treatment

Following a thorough physical examination, your podiatrist will differentiate a wart from other skin conditions and will discuss potential treatment options, which may include topical or oral medications, laser therapy, injection therapy, and even surgical removal. It is important to follow the treatment plan set forth by your podiatrist to avoid transmission and spreading of the warts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Although many home remedies and over-the-counter medications are available, most have not shown to be highly effective. Over-the-counter wart removers and duct tape application can be irritating and damaging to the skin. While these treatments may have worked for some, most physicians would not recommend these methods. Patients should also avoid trying to remove them at home with improvised surgical instruments.
Yes, they are contagious. Antiviral sprays are available commercially at sporting goods stores that can be used to help decrease the chance for transmission of the virus, or recurrence of the lesion(s).
Typically yes, but the answer does depend on the location and the number of lesions removed. Surgical excision of these lesions can be done in a variety of ways and sometimes necessitates the need to suture the skin closed. The at-home post-operative care protocol needs to be followed closely to ensure the best results.
Yes. In some instances warts can be malignant. If your podiatrist recommends biopsy of the lesion it should be taken seriously.