Warts (verrucae) are caused by a virus infection and can appear anywhere on the skin. Warts located on the bottom of the foot (plantar surface) are known as verruca plantaris or plantar warts. Warts are often mistaken for other skin lesions including corns and calluses and more serious conditions including malignant lesions such as carcinomas and melanomas. These malignant lesions, although rare, can sometimes be misidentified as a wart. Unlike corns and calluses, warts are a contagious skin disease with a center encapsulated area of small blood vessels and nerves. This area appears dark brown, black or rust colored. Over the counter treatments without a proper diagnosis are not recommended as warts may be mistaken for other medical conditions.
Warts are contagious to susceptible people and can spread over the entire sole of the foot (mosaic warts). Like any other infection, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching or even by contact with skin shed from another wart.
There are a variety of treatments available and will depend on the extent and size of the lesion. Both medical and surgical options are available. It is important to note that plantar warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur.