Plantar warts are noncancerous growths occurring on the bottom of the foot, which is also called the the plantar surface of the foot. Plantar warts are caused the by human papillomavirus, abbreviated HPV, which infects people through cuts in the skin. HPV infections are sometimes picked up on the floor of public showers, according to Mass.gov. The warts frequently develop on the heels or balls of the feet, where the most pressure is placed on the bottom of the foot. Plantar warts rarely cause severe danger, although they can be irritating and painful.
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Spread of Warts
When a plantar wart develops, seek medical attention from a doctor. Plantar warts may spread quickly, as the HPV virus multiplies and infects nearby cells in the foot. Treating warts as soon as they appear will reduce the chance that they will spread. Left untreated, plantar warts may grow up to in inch in circumference, according to HealthCommunities.com. Untreated warts may also grow into clusters of closely positioned warts, which are called mosaic warts. Warts frequently disappear after treatment, only to reappear shortly after treatment stops, according to Medline Plus.
Plantar warts can be extremely painful, especially when they occur at points where the heavy pressure is placed on the foot while walking or standing, according to the Mayo Clinic. A plantar wart growing on the bottom of the foot may cause a sensation similar to having a rock in the shoe, which may become irritating and painful over time, especially if multiple mosaic warts develop.
The development of clusters of mosaic warts may sometimes force a person to alter his or her gait while walking, HealthCommunities.com says. The more painful the warts are, the more a person will have to alter the way she walks to avoid putting pressure on the wart and causing pain. These alterations to a person's gait may ultimately cause different pain to develop in the legs or back from using unusual muscles.
Plantar warts tend to bleed profusely, either when scraped or when removed with a scalpel, says Mass.gov. If the bleeding caused by accidentally scraping a plantar wart does not stop after applying pressure, it may be necessary to see a doctor, according to Medline Plus.