Plantar Warts

Definition and Cause

Verrucae Pedis is a benign hyperkeratotic viral tumour caused by the HPV -1 (Human Papilloma Virus). This viral infection manifests itself on the plantar aspect of the foot as a verucca (plural: verrucae) commonly referred to as warts. The appearance of a verruca is in many cases similar to a corn, with a yellowish, cauliflower appearance that may become very painful on walking and pinching. A verruca can manifest itself as one lesion or multiple lesions which indicate spread of the viral skin infection. 

This virus is limited to the superficial layers of the skin specifically the upper epidermal layers, (superficial prickle and granular cell layers). A plaque is formed by a proliferative reaction caused by the replication of the virus within the epithethial cells. The infected cells remain shielded from the blood supply and therefore the person’s immune system, meaning these lesions can be persistent for years.

This virus can also affect different sites on the body including oral, genitals and the hands.


Treatment and Prevention

Verruca Pedis may resolve spontaneously after a couple of months or even years. When they become painful or spread two main treatment options should be considered including the use of topical concentrated acidic solutions (e.g. salicylic acid) and cryotherapy (use of very cold temperatures to destroy the lesions). Other methods of treatment include laser but this form of treatment is currently not used in Malta. Alternative methods of treatment include the application of duct tape on the wart/s which has been proven as effective in some studies.  It is best to discuss with your podiatrist or doctor on which treatment option is most suited for you.