Warts are one of several lesser afflictions of the foot, which nevertheless can be quite painful.

They are caused by a virus, which typically invades the skin through small cuts and abrasions. They are also called plantar warts as they appear most often on the plantar surface (or sole) of the foot.

Is it really a wart or something else?

Most warts are harmless and benign, even though painful. They are often mistaken for corns, which are layers of dead skin that build up to protect an area which is being continuously irritated, whereas a wart is a viral infection. Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, rough-surfaced, with well-defined boundaries. 

Because identifying a wart can be difficult, it is wise to consult a podiatrist about any suspicious growth or eruption on the skin of the feet.

What is the source of the virus?

Walking barefooted in public areas is the most common way of contracting plantar warts. Warm, moist environments also sustain the virus, so warts are often associated with swimming pools.

If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference, and they can spread into clusters of several warts. Like any other infectious lesion, they are spread by touching and scratching, and even by contact with skin shed from another wart. 

When plantar warts develop on the weight-bearing areas of the feet – the ball of the foot, or the heel, for example – they can be the source of very sharp, burning pain. Pain occurs when weight is brought to bear directly on the wart, although pressure on the side of a wart can create pain just as intense.

Tips for Prevention

  • Avoid walking barefoot, except on sandy beaches
  • Check children’s feet periodically
  • Avoid direct contact with warts – from other persons.
  • Do not ignore skin growths or changes in your skin
  • Visit your podiatrist as part of your annual health check-up


Self-treatment is generally not advisable. Over the counter preparations contain chemicals that destroy skin cells, and it takes an expert to destroy abnormal skin cells (warts) without also destroying surrounding healthy tissue. 

Diabetics and those with cardiovascular or other circulatory disorders should avoid self-treatment.

There are many treatment options available, and a podiatrist is by far the most skilled health professional to see when you want fast, effective wart treatment.  At Heal Focus Podiatry, we have successfully been treating warts in adults and children for many years. This is why we are the number one wart treatment centre in Glenelg South. To make an appointment, please phone 0401 828 001 and one of our friendly team will find a suitable time for you.