Caused by the human papilloma virus, or HPV, warts are skin growths that are usually painless and harmless and can appear anywhere on the body. Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet and, being subjected to pressure, can make walking painful. It is possible for any wart to be spread to different areas of the body.
Plantar Warts Facts
Small cuts or breaks in the skin are the normal routes of entry for the virus that results in plantar warts. The virus is often found in warm, damp areas such as locker rooms, public swimming areas and showers, and it can be contracted by walking bare footed in these places. Not everyone exposed to the virus will develop warts, since each person's immune system will respond differently. Children tend to be more susceptible to warts and the possible spread than adults.
Signs of Plantar Warts
Signs of plantar warts on the soles of the feet may include: small, fleshy, grainy bumps; hard, flat growths with rough surfaces and well-defined boundaries; grey or brown bumps with one or more black pinpoints; bumps that disrupt the normal lines and ridges of your feet; and pain and tenderness when walking.
Spreading of Warts
Picking at a wart can cause spreading to other parts of the body. The virus that causes the wart can also be picked up from blood or skin from the wart, and can spread from person to person. It is unclear whether a plantar wart that has been picked at and has spread to another body part such as the hands would retain the name, since, by definition, plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet. It is clear, however, that the virus can and will spread to your hands or other body parts and cause warts to develop if proper care is not taken.
Preventing Plantar Warts
You can take some precautions to lower your risk of getting and spreading plantar warts. Dry, clean feet enclosed in clean socks and shoes are good first steps. Shoes and sandals should be a priority when visiting public swimming pools and locker rooms. Direct contact with warts should be avoided, which means no picking, and if you must touch a wart, wash your hands properly afterward. Nail biting or small cuts on your fingers increase your risk of these warts spreading to your hands.
Seek medical attention if your wart does not improve after 12 weeks of home treatment. If your wart changes shape or color, is bleeding or located in your genital area, see your doctor. Do not attempt home treatment under these conditions until cleared by your doctor.