Review  |   February 2018
Plantar Warts: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Clinical Management
Author Notes
  • From Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania (Mr Witchey, Ms Witchey, and Dr Roth-Kauffman); and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Bradenton, Florida (Dr Kauffman). 
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: Funding for this article was provided by the Cooney-Jackman Endowed Professorship. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Mark Kevin Kauffman DO, MS, Med Ed, 4800 Lakewood Ranch Blvd, Bradenton, FL 34212-4953. Email: mkauffman@lecom.edu
     
Article Information
Pain Management/Palliative Care / Pediatrics / Preventive Medicine
Review   |   February 2018
Plantar Warts: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and Clinical Management
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2018, Vol. 118, 92-105. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.024
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2018, Vol. 118, 92-105. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2018.024
Abstract

Verrucae plantaris (plantar warts) are common cutaneous lesions of the plantar aspect of the foot that are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Ubiquitous in our environment, asymptomatic infection with HPV occurs frequently, with most infections controlled or cleared by cellular and humoral immune responses. However, certain populations have been observed to manifest plantar warts at higher rates compared with the general population, placing them at increased risk for wart-induced pain and complications. Plantar warts shed HPV, which can then infect other sites in the plantar region or spread to other people. Although controlling risk factors is useful in preventing infection, the pervasive nature of HPV makes these preventive measures frequently impractical. This literature review outlines the current knowledge regarding the relationship between plantar wart pathophysiology, HPV transmission, and epidemiologic characteristics. Given the high propensity for treatment resistance of plantar warts and no established, practical, and reliable method of prevention, HPV prophylaxis for populations that demonstrate high rates of plantar warts may be of benefit in controlling the spread of lesions.

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