Plantar warts

Plantar warts are hard, grainy growths that usually appear on the heels or balls of your feet, areas that feel the most pressure. This pressure also may cause plantar warts to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus).

Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet.

Most plantar warts aren't a serious health concern and may not require treatment. But plantar warts can cause discomfort or pain. If self-care treatments for plantar warts don't work, you may want to see your doctor to have them removed.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

Plantar wart signs and symptoms include:

  • A small, fleshy, rough, grainy growth (lesion) on the bottom of your foot
  • Hard, thickened skin (callus) over a well-defined "spot" on the skin, where a wart has grown inward
  • Black pinpoints, which are commonly called wart seeds but are actually small, clotted blood vessels
  • A lesion that interrupts the normal lines and ridges in the skin of your foot
  • Pain or tenderness when walking or standing

When to see a doctor

See your doctor for the lesion on your foot if:

  • The lesion is painful or changes in appearance or color
  • You've tried treating the wart, but it persists, multiplies or recurs
  • Your discomfort interferes with activities
  • You also have diabetes or poor sensation in your feet — in which case, you'll need treatment supervised by a doctor
  • You also have a weakened immune system because of immune-suppressing drugs, HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders
  • You aren't sure whether the lesion is a wart

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use