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 don't work and the pain interferes with walking, the wart can be removed.

General care

  • Your healthcare provider may remove the plantar wart:

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

    • 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 medicine (such as 40% salicylic acid). Apply the medicine to the wart every day as directed. Don't apply the medicine to the healthy skin around the wart. In between applications, remove the dead wart tissue using the type of file suggested by your healthcare 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. Don't scratch or pick at the wart. Wash your hands well before and after touching your warts. If your child has warts, be certain to teach him or her proper hand washing techniques as well.

  • While many home remedies are suggested for warts, it's best to check with your healthcare provider before trying them.

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

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

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

  • You have 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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© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.