A question I am commonly asked, especially among parents, is “what is this painful bump on the bottom of my (or my child’s) foot. This is a very broad question, as there can be many “lesions” found on the foot. However, a very common painful lesion found on our feet is known as plantar verrucae (plantar wart). This can be a very painful and unattractive lesion. When patients are told this is a virus, the next questions is, “how did I get this”.

Though not highly contagious, this common foot condition is caused by the introduction of the Human Papillomavirus to the skin of the foot, often through a cut. These warts, which develop on the bottom of your feet cause discomfort. Sometimes confused with a corn or callus, you may notice dark specks in the area as well. These are caused by clotted blood vessels.

Some of the common places we contract this virus is Public showers, locker rooms, areas around pools, or some other place where we are walking/participating in an activity while barefoot, are all places where exposure to this form of HPV can occur. The easiest and best way to protect yourself is to wear proper footwear, and check your feet for any changes often. This foot condition is especially common in children, so parents should monitor their foot health closely.

Treatment of plantar warts varies from over-the-counter treatments to removal by your foot and ankle specialist. If you are experiencing pain, it is always best to talk to your doctor about the best options for your situation. Early treatment of these common foot warts is important to reduce the chance that they will spread, or begin to cluster.