Plantar warts are small, benign growths on the soles of the feet caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). They are typically harmless but may itch and hurt. The virus enters the body through tiny cuts, breaks or other vulnerable sites on the skin of the feet. Plantar warts are often located on pressure points such as the balls of the feet or heels. This pressure can also cause warts to grow inward beneath calluses.
Plantar warts are caused by the HPV virus. Each person’s immune system responds differently to this virus. While the HPV strains that cause plantar warts are not highly contagious, they can be acquired in warm, moist environments such as showers, locker rooms and public swimming areas. The virus needs to have a point of entry to enter the skin such as cuts, scrapes and cracks in the skin.
Plantar warts may cause pain or tenderness when walking or standing. They appear as small, fleshy lesions on the soles of the feet. They may also look like black pinpoints, which are called “wart seeds.”