Plantar warts are noncancerous (benign) skin growths that develop
on the bottom of the foot and usually appear as areas of thick, tough skin
similar to calluses. They can be on any part of the foot, but they cause the
most discomfort when they are on a pressure point such as the heel.
The cause of plantar warts is a virus (human papillomavirus, or
HPV). This virus is contagious and may be spread from:
Warts on another part of the
Contact with another person who has
Contact with a warm, moist environment, where this virus can
It may take 1 or more months for a plantar wart to appear after a person
has first been exposed to the virus. Symptoms and signs of plantar warts may
Pain when walking or standing (it may feel like
walking on a pebble).
A callused area on the sole of the foot
surrounding or covering a wart. The size of the callused area may range from
the size of a pinhead to a few inches (or centimeters) in
A tiny, dark dot or dots in the center of the wart (not
Plantar warts are often hard to get rid of, no matter what
treatment is used, and they often come back. But within 2 years or so, warts
usually disappear with or without treatment. Treatment to get rid of warts may
include nonprescription and prescription medicines or minor surgery.
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.