All About Plantar Warts

A plantar wart is a growth in the skin that occurs if it is infected with a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). This virus is spread through direct contact and typically they occur on the sole of the foot. They can occur as a single, solitary wart, or as a cluster of warts.


Patients with warts will often complain of thickened skin or lesion(s) on the bottom of their feet. Warts will often be painful to walk on – especially when they are on a weight bearing part of the foot. Occasionally, tiny black dots can be seen in the surface of the wart. Skin lines will often run around the lesion and there will be pain when squeezing the wart. It is important to differentiate warts from calluses or corns. They can look quite similar, but their treatment is quite different.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

Warts are diagnosed clinically by evaluating the skin lesion. Once diagnosed, there are several ways to treat the wart. The goal of all these treatments is to remove the wart completely.


Bleomycin and cantharone are agents that are injected or applied to the wart. These agents cause a blister to occurin order to lift the wart off of the skin. This may require more than one treatment depending on the size of the wart.

Topical medication

Salicyclic acid is a common medication used to treat warts. It softens the skin layers so that the wart can be rubbed off with a pumice stone. Care should be taken in patients with diabetes, or circulatory issues, as this medication can cause open sores if used inappropriately.

Other topical creams effective on warts include: Aldara cream, which can be used to enhance the immune system to destroy the wart, and Efudex cream, which inhibits the virus’ mode of replication.


Recalcitrant warts can be treated with surgery to remove the wart. Warts can be burned out with electrosurgery, or simply excised out surgically. This method is usually quick and effective, but can leave a scar that may be painful. Occa

sionally, a skin transfer can be done to help prevent a painful scar.

Once treated, it is possible for a wart to recur in the same area or a different area, requiring further treatment. If no response occurs with treatment, a biopsy may be needed to confirm or rule out possible causes for the growth.

Warts are very common and can cause significant discomfort and pain. Although there are many treatment options for warts, they can be resistant to treatment. Many folk remedies are unproven and may end up doing more harm than good. Having your wart evaluated by a podiatrist can save you time and they can provide you with the best treatment option for your wart.

For more information please call us at (877) 989-9110.


Dr. Sydney K. Yau

Dr. Sydney K. Yau

Dr. Yau received his initial medical training at Temple University in Philadelphia where he specialized in diabetic limb salvage, sports medicine, foot and ankle reconstruction and trauma.

He then went on to complete his surgical reconstruction fellowship with the University Foot and Ankle Institute, one of only a few fellowships recognized by the American College Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

Now playing an integral role at the University Foot and Ankle Institute, Dr. Yau’s treats various sports injuries, including sprains, arthritis and fractures. He also is passionate about helping diabetic patients avoid amputation through correction of deformities and wound healing.

Dr. Yau is available for consultation at our Simi Valley location.
Dr. Sydney K. Yau

One comment

  1. This is really good info for me and glad you went into some detail instead of keeping it totally general. Really like the website and the articles are really excellent 🙂 Good job.


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