Warts are caused by a virus that invades the skin through a small cut or break. They can appear anywhere on the skin but plantar warts are only found on the feet.
Children, teenagers, young adults, allergy sufferers, and those with a weakened immune system are most vulnerable to warts. Plantar warts may appear spongy, are hard and flat, have a rough surface, may be gray or brown in color, and they often have tiny red, brown, or black spots.
They can be painful, resistant to treatment, and have a tendency to reoccur. It they are not treated promptly they can spread to other areas of the body. The virus causing plantar warts is often contracted by walking barefoot on a dirty, moist surface.
They can be spread by touching, scratching or by contact with skin shed from another wart. Treatment options depend on the severity of the warts.
It is typically not advised to administer self treatment without the advice of a podiatrist. They will be able to determine the severity of the wart and come up with a treatment plan for your individual needs. Options include applying a topical acidic medication, a surgical procedure called curettage which is done with local anesthetic, or laser surgery.
Prevention is the key to outbreaks. Wear thongs or sandals on moist surfaces such as by a pool or in a gym locker room, change your shoes and socks daily, keep your feet clean and dry, check children's feet often, avoid direct contact with warts, do not ignore any changes or growths on your body, and lastly visit your podiatrist annually as part of your yearly health check.