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 usually go away without treatment. But plantar warts can be painful when you stand or walk. If this is the case, special cushions can help relieve pressure and pain. Drugstores carry these cushions and you can buy them without a prescription. If cushions do not work and the pain interferes with walking, 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 40 percent salicylic acid). Apply the medication to the wart every day as directed. Avoid the healthy skin around the wart. In between applications, remove the dead wart tissue using the type of file suggested by your health care provider. You will likely need to repeat this process for several weeks to remove the entire wart.

  • Warts can spread from your foot to other parts of your body and to other people. Do not scratch or pick at the wart. Wash your hands well before and after touching your warts.

  • Warts often come back, even after successful treatment. Return promptly for treatment of any new warts.

Follow-up care

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

When to seek medical advice

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

  • You experience heavy bleeding or bleeding that won’t stop with light pressure.

  • The wart doesn’t go away after several weeks of self-care. 

  • New warts appear on feet, hands, or face.

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