What Are Warts?

A wart is an infection caused by a virus, which can invade your skin through small cuts or breaks.  Over time, the wart develops into a hard, rough growth on the surface of the skin.  A wart is most commonly seen on the bottom of the foot (plantar wart), but can also appear on the top.  Children, teens, and people with allergies or weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to the wart virus. 


Warts may appear spongy, with tiny red, brown, or black spots.  They can grow up to an inch or more across, occurring alone (solitary) or with smaller warts clustered nearby (mosaic).  Warts are sometimes mistaken for corns or calluses.  They can persist for years and recur in the same spot.  If left untreated, warts can spread to other parts of the body or foot or even to the hands or other areas of the body. 


There are many ways to treat warts, depending on their size and location.  Medication or surgical removal, or both, may be effective treatments.  Freezing or burning may also be used to treat warts.  Even after warts are removed, they may recur.  After your podiatrist treats your warts, protect your feet from future infection be keeping them clean and dry.  Avoid going barefoot in public places like showers, gyms, and locker rooms.  The wart virus may spread easily in moist settings like these.  Wear thongs or sandals on your feet.