The Human Papilloma virus (HPV) is responsible for plantar warts. This virus infects the superficial layer on skin only, resulting in an increase in skin thickness, occasionally painful under points of pressure.
Although plantar warts may disappear on their own, under most circumstances they must be treated to avoid the associated pain when walking.
The incubation period for a plantar wart (or the time it takes for the wart to be visible once the patient is exposed to the virus) is unknown, may vary between months and years with the accepted average of 6 months.
Although there are 120 types of HPV, only a few types are associated with warts of the skin. These viruses have been linked to lesions of the genitalia and to certain genital cancers, including cancer of the uterus.
Warts all all kinds are quite common and are estimated to infect 50% of adults during their lifetime.
Plantar warts in particular affect patients of all ages, but are however more common in children 12-16 years old and rare in the elderly.
Risk factors for plantar warts include:
- The use of public shower/pools.
- Skin trauma.
- A decrease in immune system strength due to illness or medication.