Plantar Warts in Children and Teens

A plantar wart can develop in any person at any age. However, we see them more often in children and teens than in adults. This type of wart, usually caused by a form of the human papilloma virus (HPV), typically grows on the sole of the foot that does the most weight-bearing, such as the ball of the foot or the heel. The growth can result from the HPV virus permeating the foot through a crack or cut in the skin. It doesn’t take much for viruses to enter the body, which is one reason warts are such a common problem. Here, we discuss how to spot plantar warts, how they may be prevented, and how they may be treated. 

How to Identify a Plantar Wart

The first sign of a plantar wart might be the formation of a hard callus on the heel or ball of the foot. Pain may occur in the area of the callus, especially when standing or wearing shoes. The roots of the plantar wart grow inward. As the roots grow, black specks may appear at the center of the wart. These are tiny blood vessels that may be feeding the growth.

Can Plantar Warts be Prevented?

It can be difficult to completely avoid all contact with the human papillomavirus throughout one's life. That said, this risk of exposure can be decreased in the same way one tries to prevent athlete’s foot. People of all ages can keep their feet healthy by wearing flip-flops or shower shoes when using public locker rooms and pools. Fungus and viruses thrive in moist areas. Shoes create a barrier against them. Additionally, it is helpful to keep the feet dry whenever possible. It may be helpful to wear moisture-wicking socks and shoes that let the feet breathe as often as possible. 

If a plantar wart starts to grow, tools such as emery boards should not be used on the growth and on other parts of the foot. This can spread the virus from one area to another. 

Treating Plantar Warts

A plantar wart may go away on its own without treatment. However, this may take a year or longer. If the wart is causing pain, treatment should be sought. A podiatrist can discuss treatment options based on the age of the patient and the severity of the growth. One common option for treating plantar warts is to freeze them with liquid nitrogen. Another option is to destroy the virus and clear the wart using laser therapy. 

No child, teen, or adult has to live with the discomfort of a plantar wart. To explore available treatment options, call Northeastern Foot and Ankle at (973) 473-6665.