Mosaic warts develop as clusters on the bottoms of the feet, but can also happen on other areas of the body. These warts are a type of plantar wart. They can be difficult to treat and prevent from coming back. If at-home methods are not successful or the warts are reoccurring, see a podiatrist who can help you get rid of them permanently.
Causes of Mosaic Warts
Mosaic warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus enters the body through the skin on the bottom of the feet. When this happens, warts can develop. Some ways that the virus can be transmitted are:
- Having direct contact with someone who has HPV
- Walking barefoot on a shower, locker room, or gym floor
- Having a small cut or break in the skin of the foot and picking up the virus
Common Symptoms of Mosaic Warts
Mosaic warts appear on the bottom of the foot in a cluster resembling a mosaic tile. They are often confused with a callus or corn. These warts can be very painful and can grow on any part of the foot but most commonly appear on the ball of the foot or heel due to pressure. Mosaic warts can grow deep inside the bottom of the foot.
Some common symptoms of a mosaic wart are:
- Thickened skin on the bottom of the foot
- Pain when standing, walking, or applying pressure
- Small black dots in the center of the warts
Diagnosing Mosaic Warts
A podiatrist can diagnose mosaic warts by doing a physical exam of your feet. Mosaic warts appear in clusters and can often resemble a corn. A podiatrist may file the area to determine if it is a wart or corn. No other testing other than an exam is needed to diagnose the warts. Once a diagnosis is made, treatments will be recommended.
Mosaic warts can sometimes disappear without treatment, but this is not often the case. Many at-home treatments will not get rid of the warts completely and they may come back. A podiatrist can use a variety of treatments to help eliminate the warts and prevent them from reoccurring. Often mosaic warts need multiple treatments by a podiatrist to be destroyed so that they do not spread to other areas of the body.
Some treatment options for mosaic warts include:
- Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen can be used to freeze away the warts.
- Laser surgery. Laser surgery can be done to burn away the warts.
- Topical medication. Topical prescription-strength medication can be used directly on the warts to exfoliate the area and fight off the virus.
- Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy injections can be administered to stimulate the body’s immune response to destroy the warts.
- Surgery. Surgery is only recommended if the warts do not go away and are causing daily discomfort after other attempts at treatment.
If you notice any unusual or sudden changes with your mosaic warts, contact your podiatrist immediately. Changes to watch out for include:
- Changes in the appearance or color of the warts
- Warts are hot to the touch
- Pain with daily activities
Preventing Mosaic Warts
There are several ways to prevent mosaic warts such as:
- Do not share personal items such as towels, shoes, socks, nail clippers, or other foot instruments.
- Never go barefoot in public areas such as showers or locker rooms.
- If you have warts, wear shoes that fit properly and have padding to reduce pressure on the areas of the feet where there are warts.
- Cover mosaic warts with bandages to reduce the risk of spreading the HPV virus to others.
Time to See an Experienced Podiatrist
If you have mosaic warts and need treatment by an experienced podiatrist, Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry can help. We offer a free initial consultation and can customize a treatment plan based on your personal condition and needs. To set up an appointment, fill out our contact form online or call our office at (301) 515-FEET.