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Plantar Warts Treatment and Causes

Plantar Warts Treatment and Causes

By Jackie Panko, MD

Nov 30, 2018

Updated Oct 25, 2023

5 min read

Plantar warts treatment and causes

Most people get warts at some point, even if no one likes to admit it. A plantar wart is a type of wart that develops on the soles your feet. They’re quite annoying at first, and may even become painful if they grow large. Although most plantar warts will go away on their own after a few years, it’s possible to remove them through self-care or with a doctor’s help.

Most warts are fairly harmless. They’re skin growths caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV); however, plantar warts aren’t the same as genital warts. Instead, this virus settles into the weight-bearing pads of your feet, which causes a wart. More than anything, plantar warts are a not-so-pretty feature that can cause embarrassment and self-consciousness.

Plantar wart symptoms

It’s not usually difficult to spot a plantar wart. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain in the affected area when standing or walking.
  • Hard, thick skin over a certain area or a “spot” on your skin. This indicates a wart has grown inward. It may feel a bit like a callus.
  • Rough, fleshy, or grainy growth on the bottom of your foot. Warts are typically located on the pads of your feet, or at the base of your toes.
  • Black dots that are tiny, clotted blood vessels (commonly mistaken for wart seeds).
  • A lesion that interrupts the typical patterns of the skin on your foot.

Preventing plantar warts

Prevention isn’t difficult if you’re practicing good “wart hygiene” and a little common sense.

  • Avoid potential contact with others who have warts. Always wear shoes or flip flops around swimming pools and locker rooms.
  • Avoid picking or scratching, and wash your hands if you touch a wart. If you use a nail clipper or other tools on your warts, don’t use it on other areas of your body.
  • Warts thrive in a moist area, so keep your feet dry and change your socks every day.
  • While anyone can get a wart, those with weakened immune systems are most at risk.

Treating your plantar wart

There are many home remedies for the treatment of plantar warts. From duct tape to banana peels, everyone you meet will have a “cure.” Your body’s immune system is pretty amazing, so, given time, most warts will go away on their own. However, if your wart is becoming bothersome, it may be time to try a home treatment option or see your doctor.

  • Try an over-the-counter remedy. At-home wart treatments work about half the time, and they’re fairly quick and inexpensive. Most at-home treatments peel away the wart layer by layer, so it may take some time.
  • Get the wart treated by a doctor. After making sure it’s really a wart, your doctor may offer to freeze it off with liquid nitrogen. This is the most common medical treatment for warts. Other treatment options including injectable medicines that help strengthen your immune system (and clear out the HPV virus), prescribed creams, or laser surgery.

Most treatments take several weeks or months to work. And if a treatment works, there’s still a chance the wart can come back. Take comfort in knowing that eventually, your wart will go away.

Do I need to see a doctor?

In most cases you shouldn’t need to see a doctor about a wart. If you want a quick treatment option, try one of the many home remedies to remove the wart.

You should contact your doctor for treatment options if the wart becomes painful or doesn’t go away using home remedies. You should also see your doctor about warts if you have diabetes, poor circulation or lack of feeling in your feet, signs of infection, or a weakened immune system.