Warts 101


Q: What’s the fastest way to get rid of a plantar wart?

A: For starters, don’t pick at it. I know it’s tempting, but picking at the wart will increase your chances of spreading it to other parts of the foot or even other people.

You’ll also need to be patient. Warts are notoriously difficult to get rid of. If you’re lucky, they may resolve on their own within a few months — but that time frame is rare. In most cases, they can take as long as two years to disappear.

In the meantime, you can help speed along the process with these simple tips:

Soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes every day before you apply a treatment program. This softens your skin and may help make it easier for you to remove warts.

Gently file down warts with a pumice stone or emery board after every shower or bath. Doing this regularly helps prevent warts from growing deeper into your skin and possibly spreading.

Apply over-the-counter salicylic acid (Compound W). This medicine usually comes in liquid form and is applied directly to the wart using a cotton swab or applicator stick. Use caution not to spread the

Warts are one of the most common skin conditions. They occur when a virus infects the top layer of skin, usually through a tiny scratch.

Plantar warts grow on the plantar surface (the bottom) of the foot. They can be painful to walk on and are generally not as easy to treat as warts that occur elsewhere.

Plantar warts appear as thickened, rough skin with small black dots or pinpoints (called wart seeds). The dots result from small, clotted blood vessels. Sometimes yellowish-brown calluses will form over the wart, especially if you walk barefoot a lot.

Plantar warts are typically flesh-colored to gray and may resemble small pieces of cauliflower. Typically they’re found in people whose feet have been exposed to warm, moist environments such as public showers or locker rooms.

Plantar warts are small, painful growths on the bottom of the foot. They occur when the human papillomavirus (HPV) infects the top layer of skin on the soles of your feet. The virus enters your body through small or invisible cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet.

Warts may spread from person to person or from one part of your body to another. But they’re not highly contagious — and you’re not likely to get them from a toilet seat or locker room floor.

Plantar warts typically go away without treatment, though it may take months or even years. You can speed up the process by applying salicylic acid or freezing the wart (cryotherapy). If these at-home treatments don’t work, see your family doctor for more aggressive therapy.

Plantar warts most often affect people ages 12 through 16, and adults older than 65.

If you have ever had a plantar wart on your foot, you know they can be painful and ugly. You may also know that they can be stubborn to get rid of. Most warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus spreads through direct contact with an infected person or through contact with an object used by an infected person. It then invades the skin through a cut or scratch and takes up residence in the top layer of skin cells.

Once there, it typically multiplies slowly, causing a rough, hard lump that is lighter in color than the normal skin. The HPV virus is extremely common — about 10 percent of U.S. children develop warts at some point in childhood — but most people’s immune systems are able to fight off the virus before it causes warts to develop. Those who do develop warts often need professional help to get rid of them for good.

Parents should seek professional treatment for their children’s warts if home treatment doesn’t work after several weeks of trying. There are many treatment options available from dermatologists, including cryotherapy (freezing), salicylic acid treatments, laser therapy, surgery and other options.

Plantar warts are painful bumps that commonly develop on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet. This type of wart is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet.

Plantar warts are more likely to occur in people with certain risk factors, such as a weakened immune system.

Over-the-counter (OTC) treatment options for plantar warts include salicylic acid and freezing agents. Salicylic acid is applied to the wart to break down its outer layers. These treatments are available at most drugstores.

If OTC treatments don’t work, your doctor may prescribe stronger treatments such as cantharidin, an irritant that causes a blister to form under the wart; interferon injections; or immunotherapy creams.

If these prescription treatments don’t eliminate the wart, your doctor may recommend that you have it removed using another procedure, such as cryotherapy (freezing the wart), laser therapy, excision or electrosurgery (burning off the wart).

Plantar warts, or verruca plantaris, are noncancerous skin growths that usually appear on the heels or other weight-bearing areas of your feet.

Plantar warts are caused by direct contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV enters the outer layer of skin through tiny cuts and abrasions.

There’s no sure way to prevent plantar warts. But you may be able to reduce your risk of getting them by taking these steps:**

Wear protective footwear in public places, such as locker rooms, shower stalls and swimming pools.**

Don’t walk barefoot in public places.**

Wash your feet regularly and keep them dry.**

Thoroughly file away calluses on your feet.*

Use over-the-counter wart removers with caution. Some contain salicylic acid, which can cause irritation if used incorrectly. Don’t use wart removers on moles or birthmarks.*

If you have diabetes or another disease that causes poor circulation to your feet, inspect your feet daily for signs of plantar warts. If you find any suspicious growths on your feet, see a doctor immediately for treatment.

Warts can appear on your hands and fingers, but they are more common on your feet. One type of wart, called a plantar wart, is found on the bottom of the foot. It may look like a small, fleshy bump with black dots in the center. The black dots are small, clotted blood vessels. This is what gives the wart a darker color than the rest of your skin.

Plantar warts tend to grow into your skin, not out of it. They can be itchy or even painful when you walk.

They are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus can enter your body through tiny cuts or breaks in the skin on your feet. You’re more likely to get a plantar wart if you have a cut or scratch on your foot that comes in contact with a wart virus.

You can get HPV from walking barefoot in public places where the virus is present — for example, in locker rooms and swimming pools.

You can also get HPV from direct contact with someone who has warts — such as an infected person’s towels or razors.


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