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Are Plantar Warts Contagious?

Dr. Eman Elmi
December 16, 2022
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Plantar warts are warts that develop on the soles of the feet. The condition is characterized by small, rough growths in the affected area. They can grow together in a cluster formation known as mosaic waters. Planter warts most commonly occur on the areas of the feet that bear the most pressure, such as the balls and heels of the ferry. Normal standing or walking can increase this pressure and may cause a wart to grow inward. Our body will attempt to prevent the spread of the wart, creating a hard, thick layer of skin called a callus. Calluses can further aggravate plantar warts and cause pain that interferes with our daily activities.  

Sometimes plantar don’t cause any discomfort and are just noticed by the visual symptoms. Other times, they can be bothersome and vary in severity from person to person. Common plantar wart symptoms include:

  • A small, rough growth on the bottom of your foot, usually at the base of the toes or on the ball or heel
  • On darker skin tones, the growth may be lighter than on unaffected skin
  • Callus development over a spot on the skin where a wart has grown inward
  • Black dots, which are small clotted blood vessels (commonly called wart seeds)
  • A cluster of growths on the sole (mosaic warts)
  • Pain or tenderness when walking or standing

Here are some more causes we have discussed in detail.

Most plantar warts aren't a severe health concern. They are most common in children, elderly populations, and those with immune diseases. Plantar warts often go away without treatment. You can usually self-treat at home if they are a cosmetic concern or causing mild pain or discomfort. 

Are Plantar Warts Contagious?

Plantar warts, like other types, are caused by a virus that invades the body via tiny cuts or scrapes on the skin. You may be wondering, “are plantar warts contagious?” The short answer is yes. Plantar warts are caused by a viral infection called Human papillomavirus infection (HPV— type 1). Like other viral infections, plantar warts are communicable, meaning they can spread from one person to the next. However, the HPV strain that causes plantar warts isn’t highly contagious. What makes it transmissible are the environmental factors. It thrives in warm, moist places. This is why outbreaks most commonly occur in public places where many people walk around barefoot, such as swimming pools and showers in locker rooms. Many times fitness facilities are hot spots for an outbreak. Especially in areas where activities are being performed barefooted, such as yoga, Pilates, tai chi, and other martial arts.  

Most healthy people build immunity to the HPV virus with age, so plantar warts are more common in children and those with diseases that weaken immune system function. Some examples include HIV/AIDS, lupus, autoimmune disorders, or people taking immunosuppressant medications. 

Causes Of Plantar Warts & When To Seek Professional Treatment

The causes of plantar warts are viral, so mitigating your risk is encouraged. But first, keep your feet clean and dry.

Wear shoes or other foot protection when walking around swimming pools, locker rooms, or communal showers.

Conservative therapy is usually enough to treat mild pain and discomfort associated with plantar warts. Things like salicylic acid or apple cider burglar baths offer anecdotal evidence. Call your healthcare provider if the area becomes red, warm to the touch, or more painful after self-treatment. This could be a sign of infection.

If you believe you have plantar warts, schedule a consultation with Diablo Foot and Ankle today. Our team of Board-Certified Podiatrists and nurses is here to help you get the best treatment. So stop living with nagging foot pain; we can help!

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