Warts that appear on the feet are often referred to as plantar warts. Warts are caused by a virus known as the human papillomavirus or HPV. The infection remains in the outer layers of the skin and creates small lumps or growths that are non-cancerous. There are over 100 strains of the human papillomavirus. Out of that number, only a select few are capable of causing plantar or palmar warts. The virus that causes the warts enters through the surface of the skin. The warts appear several days later and may resemble small bumps or tiny cauliflower shaped buds. In most cases, the warts are located on the soles of the feet or along the side of the heel.
While most types of HPV can't be cured, the warts it produces can be treated. Over the counter remedies have about a 50-50 chance of removing the wart so it doesn't return. Having a doctor remove the wart gives the best chances for complete removal so that the wart will not return at a later date. Doctors can remove the wart through the use of laser or surgical procedures, injecting it with an antifungal mixture, or frozen off with liquid nitrogen. Boosting the body's immune system may also be beneficial in preventing the virus from returning. Aside from surgical or laser procedures, some treatment options may take several days or weeks for the wart to be completely removed.
Plantar warts can be prevented if a person understands what causes them. Viruses often live on warm, wet surfaces. Never walk on moist surfaces without some type of footwear. The virus will enter through cuts or open wounds on the surface of the skin. Making sure to always wash the feet thoroughly and placing antibiotic ointment on any cuts or open wounds that may be present is important if a person wants to protect themselves from being infected by the HPV virus. Another important aspect of preventing any type of viral infection is to make sure the immune system is functioning properly so any exposure to the virus produces minimal risk.