Pediatric Warts

Definition: hyperkeratotic epidermal lesion caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) on the sole of the foot

Medical terminology: verrucae pedis

A plantar wart is a lesion on the sole of the foot that can cause pain, especial when they are found on the ball of the foot or the heel.  Warts are caused by a virus, human papilloma virus (HPV), and appear as a soft central core that is surrounded by thick hardened skin resembling a callus.  Multiple tiny black spots can sometimes be seen on the wart as this is the wart’s blood supply.

Warts are mostly seen in young children and often found on their feet.  Sometimes the warts may be confused with other skin condiitons such as a callus, therefore it is important to identify it as a wart in order to treat it appropriately.

Around 50% of warts will disappear without treatment, while some warts remain for years. If your warts are causing you pain or discomfort, please see a foot specialist to receive the appropriate treatment to relieve your symptoms.


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How can you treat a wart?

It is important to use the most appropriate treatment when treating a child’s wart. The best way to treat a child’s wart is to start with the simplest, easiest, less aggressive treatment. Below is the list of treatment options starting from the most conservative to the most aggressive treatments.   The more aggressive treatments are reserved for warts resistant to conservative treatments.

  • Over-the-counter wart pads – contain small traces of salicylic acid to remove the wart
  • Topical acids – stronger concentrations of salicylic acid or use of cantharidin to produce a blister to help remove the wart
  • Freezing (cryotherapy) – kills the wart but may be too painful for some children to tolerate
  • Laser therapy – uses light to destroy the blood vessels that supplys the wart, hence killing the wart
  • Surgical excision – requires numbing the area and physically removing the wart and applying a chemical to the area to help reduce chance of regrowth

Ways to lower chances of getting plantar warts

  • Wear flip flops or water shoes in public places such as pools, water parks or locker rooms
  • Wear a clean pair of socks everyday
  • If you live with someone who has plantar warts, make sure they always wear something on their feet as it is contagious
  • Do not share socks or shoes with someone who has a plantar wart, it is contagious

Warts are notoriously stubborn and tough to get rid of. Even when the wart appears to be gone, the virus remains in the skin and the wart grows again. Please see a foot specialist who can help develop a proper treatment plan for you wart complaint.