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Plantar wart in Adult
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Plantar wart in Adult

Contributors: Romi Bloom MD, Noah Craft MD, PhD, Lindy P. Fox MD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Plantar warts are common, superficial skin growths caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) types 1, 2, and 4. Plantar warts are thick hyperkeratotic papules / plaques that often form on pressure points such as the ball of the foot and the heel, but they may occur anywhere on the sole. Plantar warts can be asymptomatic; however, they may become callused and painful with pressure or with walking. They are slightly more common in females, young children, and immunocompromised patients.

HPV types 1, 2, and 4 are ubiquitous in the environment. The virus is frequently transmitted from person to person through exposure on locker room floors, public showers, and pool areas.


B07.0 – Plantar wart

63440008 – Plantar wart

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • A Clavus, or corn, is a painful hyperkeratotic lesion with a central core that lacks pinpoint thrombosed capillaries and retains normal skin dermatoglyphics. Clavi occur in sites of pressure and repeated friction.
  • Foreign body granuloma, which may have a history of trauma or inoculation.
  • Acquired digital fibrokeratoma tends to have a smoother and more pedunculated appearance with a collarette of normal skin.
  • Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma can arise in preexisting warts and may be recalcitrant to therapy.
  • If the patient has recently traveled to a tropical area, consider Tungiasis (infestation with a burrowing flea into the sole of the foot). Look for a firm, white papule with a central black dot.
  • Amelanotic melanoma is a diagnostic challenge. Amelanotic melanomas may occur on the soles and toes and in the toe webs. They may present as skin-colored or pink macules, papules, or nodules (sometimes with scale).

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Last Reviewed:08/07/2018
Last Updated:08/07/2018
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Patient Information for Plantar wart in Adult
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Plantar wart in Adult
A medical illustration showing key findings of Plantar wart : Plantar foot
Clinical image of Plantar wart - imageId=53243. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A hyperkeratotic plaque on the sole.'
A hyperkeratotic plaque on the sole.
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