Warts that occur on the bottom of your feet are called plantar warts. Often they occur on the areas of the foot that experience the most pressure, such as the ball of your foot or the heel. Because of the increased pressure to those areas from walking and physical activity, plantar warts in these areas often penetrate deep into the tissue and can be very painful. Warts are caused by a virus known as human papilloma virus, or HPV. They can be spread in moist environments such as public showers, locker rooms and swimming areas, but not everyone who comes in contact with a plantar wart will develop one.
Your podiatrist will diagnosis a plantar wart based on physical exam and description of symptoms.
If your doctor determines that your wart needs to be treated, the usual choice of therapy is salicylic acid, which when applied daily eventually softens the skin layers of the wart so that it can be peeled off. This process may take several weeks or months. Other treatment options for plantar warts include injection with medication, freezing them with liquid nitrogen, and removing them with surgery. In children, a removal method using duct tape may be effective and relatively painless.
Sometimes plantar warts go away on their own if left untreated. However, many warts can become increasingly larger and more painful and can begin to multiply into clusters of warts called mosaic warts. Walking and running will become difficult in these situations. Over time, some plantar warts can lead to a type of skin cancer.