Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Plantar warts

Question: My 9 year old daughter has developed rather unattractive "warts" on the bottom of her feet. While she does not complain about pain, she is very self-conscious about them. What are the best treatment for this problem and why does it occur in the first place?

Answer: Warts are caused by viruses. What you are describing on your daughter's feet are called plantar warts. Plantar, because this is the area of the body where they are found.

Viruses for the most part are highly contagious, therefore easily transmitted by direct contact or fomites (non-human sources ). It's quite possible that your daughter came in contact with a surface infected with the virus such as a bath or shower stall. School locker rooms or just walking barefoot may also cause the warts. Autoinoculation (spread from one part of the body to another) is another way of getting these.

The usual incubation for warts is anywhere from 1 to 8 months. Constant pressure from walking is what makes the warts painful. They are the most difficult of all the warts to treat.

Children and adolecents are most prone to getting warts. The treatment includes some over the counter preparations such as salicylic preparations. These can be in the form of patches applied directly to the wart. Many times plantar warts need to be removed surgically by a dermatologist or pediatrician.

As far as preventing warts, sometimes it's not possible because they are so contagious and invisible! The best thing is to treat them as soon as they appear so that they don't spread. Be careful with preparations used to treat warts. They can harm and even burn the normal skin around the wart.

Also see:

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  • Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage ADHD medication or is it better suited to a psychiatrist?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.