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Plantar Warts

Warts are common skin growths that can appear anywhere on the body. Warts on the soles of the feet are called plantar warts. These warts are not a serious health problem. They may eventually go away without treatment. Plantar warts can be painful when you stand or walk, though. If this is the case, special cushions can help relieve pressure and pain. These can be bought from drugstores without a prescription. Or, the wart can be removed.

General care

  • Your healthcare provider may remove the plantar wart:

    • With prescription medications. These may be placed directly on the wart at each office visit. Or you may be sent home with the medication.

    • With a blade or by freezing (cryotherapy), burning (electrocautery), or laser treatment.

  • You may be instructed to treat the wart yourself at home using an over-the-counter wart-removal medication (such as salicylic acid).

  • Apply the medication to the wart every day as directed. Keep these tips in mind when using topical medication to remove warts:

    • Avoid the healthy skin around the wart.

    • In between applications, remove the dead wart tissue using a nail file or pumice stone.

    • The tool that you use to remove wart tissue should be used only for this purpose. Do not use it on other skin, and do not share it.

    • You will likely need to repeat this process for several weeks to remove the entire wart. (Traces of the wart may still be in the skin even when you can’t see it anymore.)

  • Warts can spread from your foot to other parts of your body and to other people. Wash your hands well after touching your warts.

  • Warts often come back, even after successful treatment. Contact your healthcare provider for advice about treating new warts.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your health care provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your health care provider right away if any of these occur.

  • Signs of infection (red streaks, pus, smelly or colored discharge, or fever).

  • Heavy bleeding or bleeding that won’t stop with light pressure.

  • The wart doesn’t go away after several weeks of self-care, or new warts develop.


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