Photo of a doctor examining a patient's wart on their foot

How to Remove Foot Warts: A Guide to Plantar Wart Treatment

by Mark Paigen 6 minute read

How to Remove Foot Warts: A Guide to Plantar Wart Treatment

Most people who have plantar warts can't wait to get them removed. There is more than ample reason to seek treatment due to their appearance and the discomfort they may cause.

On the other hand, some are unsure about the necessity of medical intervention. Is it vital to get rid of plantar warts on your feet if they're not bothering you in your daily life?

Ultimately, it's up to you to make that judgment. However, if you ask most medical professionals, you should seek some form of plantar wart treatment.

It's typically not wise to put off treatments for warts on feet, even if they aren't stopping you from living a full life.

Today we will answer how do you get warts on your feet and why you should get them treated early.

What is a Plantar Wart?

A plantar wart is a noncancerous protrusion that appears on the sole of the foot. (The sole is referred to as plantar.)

So, how do you get plantar warts?

A virus causes a wart by forcing the top layer of skin to develop rapidly. Typically, plantar warts will form on the ball of the foot, where the most pressure occurs and can be uncomfortable when carrying out regular daily activities. Warts usually go away on their own in a few months, sometimes years.

Warts are quickly disseminated through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing personal effects with others. You continually reinfect yourself by touching the wart and then touching another part of your body. That implies that you need to stop if you pick or touch your warts. So, wash your hands well before and after touching your warts.

Warts are caused by a virus and are highly contagious. You can come into contact with the virus that causes warts in airport security, on a wet pool deck, or on a mat at the gym. Warts are difficult to eliminate and patients should consult a physician before attempting over-the-counter treatments, particularly if they have a condition, such as diabetes, that could make OTC treatments dangerous. Plantar warts can often cause pain that may affect your gait.

Your doctor may advise you to apply a more potent topical plantar wart treatment for exceptionally stubborn warts or inject them with medication. Warts can also be surgically removed or frozen by your doctor.

What Causes Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts are small, fleshy growths that form on the bottom of your foot. They are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can infect almost any surface in the body and is also responsible for other types of warts. Most people will develop at least a few plantar warts in their lives, although some people are much more prone to them than others. Still, few realize that their feet can be a vehicle for the virus as well.

As long as your plantar warts remain tiny and unobtrusive, you'll be able to put them out of your mind. However, in a matter of weeks or months, things may be radically different as a plantar wart causes discomfort and mutates into a cluster.

Having plantar warts indicates that your immune system isn't up to the task of fighting off the particular strain of virus that produced it. There is a chance that other warts will form on your foot or possibly elsewhere on your body.

It is most common for warts to spread through direct skin contact with the virus. Person-to-person interaction can spread them. You can also get them if you walk barefoot on virus-infected damp surfaces, such as at a communal pool or locker room. You may avoid them by wearing the correct footwear in such areas.

If you develop a cut on the sole of your foot or aggravate your present warts, plantar warts might spread throughout your foot.

When you seek care for yourself, you also protect your family members. The more time you spend with your warts, the more likely that someone else will pick them up. This is something we're very sure they will not enjoy.

What are the Symptoms of Plantar Warts?

People frequently confuse warts for calluses or corns in a plantar wart's early stage because they sometimes resemble them. Plantar warts don't normally seem as elevated as warts on your hands because of the pressure on your foot as you walk. Usually, they appear as flat, hard areas on the bottom of the foot, which is why they are mistaken for calluses. They have a more plump look when they're on the top side of the foot.

Plantar wart symptoms include:

  • Red sores on the bottom of your foot
  • Painful sores that can crack, bleed, or scab over
  • Hard growths that resemble small cauliflowers or grapes on the bottom of your feet
  • A lumpy sore that can be itchy or painful, and thick, bumpy skin that is often red, scaly, and raised
  • Wart seeds, or black pinpoints in the growth
  • Swelling in the skin of your foot that causes the lines and ridges to be disrupted
  • Walking or standing causes discomfort or pain

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your physician.

How to Treat Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are typically treated using over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, such as salicylic acid products or cryotherapy. These treatments work by reducing the wart's size and may help alleviate any symptoms. Other treatment options include prescription medication, such as podophyllin, imiquimod, or liquid nitrogen.

There are three main courses you can take when seeking plantar wart treatment:

Without treatment, the wart on the bottom of your foot may gradually disappear. However, if you find that common skin warts are bothering you, several treatment options are available.

Duct Tape

One option is to use duct tape. For six days, leave a tiny strip on the wart. Remove the tape, bathe the wart in water, and then use a rough stone to remove the wart's dead skin gently. For best results, repeat the procedure as many times as necessary. It might take a few months for this to happen.

OTC Medication

Treatments for warts over the counter commonly contain salicylic acid, a chemical that peels off the wart. Alternatively, tissue can be killed using a freezing spray.

Prescribed Medication

Treatments provided by a physician are more likely to be successful. You can use liquid nitrogen to get rid of the wart, use lasers or surgery to get rid of the wart or apply or inject drugs to boost your immune system.

Avoid any therapies that require you to cut into your skin since this will likely result in more damage than benefit. In general, most home remedies for warts are safe, but the longer you leave them on your skin, the more likely they are to spread. It's important to note that regardless of how successful the plantar wart treatment is, it may return.

How to Prevent Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are uncomfortable, but there are methods to avoid them. As a first step, keep your warts away from each other, even those on your own skin. After touching your wart, wash your hands thoroughly.

If you're going to be using public pools, locker rooms, or showers, you should invest in a pair of shower shoes to keep the virus at bay. Preventing the transmission of the virus is as simple as washing your bath mats and changing your socks regularly. Ensure your feet are completely dry before putting on socks and shoes to prevent warts from flourishing.

Additionally, you should ensure that you change out the insoles of your shoes to an orthotic pair, like Tread Labs.

Minimize Plantar Wart Pain With Tread Labs

You should never hold off on seeking a plantar wart treatment. They may not be hurting today, but one day of heavy walking or running can make a noticeable impact.

Chronic pain is more than just a nuisance. Most people alter their weight, postures, and walking style unconsciously to alleviate uncomfortable or distracting symptoms.

To put it simply, changing your walking and moving habits will modify the way pressures are distributed in your feet. Eventually, you may begin to feel pain in your heels, knees, or even lower back due to overuse.

This is just one of the many reasons you shouldn't just accept foot discomfort as a regular part of your daily routine. Instead, invest in a pair of shoe inserts.

Whether you've been searching for orthotic insoles to replace the ones you had with a plantar wart or ones that will help minimize the pain from having one, ensure you choose ones that fit your footwear correctly. Contact Tread Labs today to find the perfect shoe insert for your feet!

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