A wart is a skin growth, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) getting into the skin and taking over the local skin building mechanism. Although warts, also known as verruca, can occur almost anywhere on the body, they occur most frequently on hands and feet because of the friction, chafing or abrasions that these areas experience every day.
On the feet, warts are often mistaken for corns or calluses. But corns and calluses are different, they're simply a focal buildup of skin due to rubbing or pressure. Warts that occur on the bottom of the foot frequently grow to a significant size and depth, so they become painful. Warts that occur on the top of the foot or on ones hands can be unsightly. Occasionally, warts can spontaneously disappear, and then, just as frequently, they recur in the same location. If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of warts. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults.
A foot wart that occurs on the bottom of the foot is referred to as a plantar wart. Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries, and sometimes visible pinpoint black specks in the center. Although the wart is mostly flush with the surrounding skin, the bulk of the wart forms deep into the skin, which is why it's often painful during walking. Like any other infectious lesion, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin that was shed from another wart.
To prevent the spread of warts, follow these tips:
Avoid direct contact with warts, both from other persons or from other parts of your own body.
Avoid walking barefoot.
Avoid being barefoot in a public shower. wear flip flops.
Change your shoes and socks daily.
Check your children's feet periodically.
Keep your feet clean and dry.
It is important to note that warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur. Over-the-counter wart treatments are usually ineffective for plantar warts, but can work reasonably well for warts on the hands.
There are many documented, professional, medical, treatments for warts, and not a single one of them works every time. This is important to know; no one can guarantee that a wart will not recur. Professional medical treatment of warts is divided into invasive treatment, and minimally invasive treatment. Invasive treatment generally means that local anesthesia is required, and something aggressive is done to excise or kill the wart in one visit. The less invasive approach does not involve injection of local anesthetic, but rather application of topical acids and or freezing of the wart. However, the less invasive approach usually involves more than one visit.
There are also numerous anecdotal DIY wart treatments on the Internet, most of them harmless, use your discretion.