Plantar warts

Last update: 1 November 2019

Plantar warts

Plantar warts

A plantar wart is a skin lesion that is caused by a viral infection. It can remain dormant for years or grow and spread quickly. This skin infection is also contagious for yourself and for those around you.

These lesions are caused by the HPV or human papilloma virus. However, although it may be a benign virus, it is recommended not to wait to have it removed.


Very often, the plantar wart appears as a small, rough, round, flat bump. It will cause different symptoms.

  • Appearance: comprised of grainy brown or yellowish tissue, with small black dots.
  • Size: plantar warts can measure from a few millimeters to several centimeters in diameter.
  • Pain: in some cases, plantar warts can be painful. The pain can become acute and be caused by pinching or pressure points.
  • Posture problems: foot pain caused by the plantar wart can lead to a problem of foot placement and result in other health issues.


Plantar warts are a highly contagious skin problem. Thus, it is important to understand the causes of transmission to protect yourself on a daily basis.

  • Skin-to-skin contact: direct skin contact with an infected person may be sufficient to transmit the virus from one person to another.
  • Indirect contact: plantar warts can be passed on by touching infected objects (like shoes, sandals or socks).
  • Self-contagion: an infected person can also be considered as “self-contagious.” The risk is increased if they scratch or bleed one or more warts.

As in the vast majority of cases, a plantar wart is a superficial benign lesion; it is not a problem that usually becomes dangerous. However, you must not neglect to consult a podiatrist for advice.

Preventing plantar warts

There are several things you can do to avoid contracting plantar warts, especially in public places. You can also be vigilant if you are being treated by a podiatrist.

  • Don’t walk around in bare feet: avoid walking barefoot in public places like the gym, pool, public showers or any other public areas.
  • Cover the infected areas: if you are not following a treatment to get rid of a plantar wart, ensure it is covered up.
  • Keep your feet dry: ensure your feet breathe freely. This is especially important for those who suffer from excessive foot sweating.
  • Wash your feet with soap and water: if you have just come from walking barefoot in a public place, don’t hesitate to wash your heels and toes with soap immediately after.

Home treatments for plantar warts

There are many treatments available to limit the risk of contagion of plantar warts. Often these treatments are even available over-the-counter and can be administered at home.

  • Salicylic acid: if this product is applied regularly on plantar warts, after a while it may burn the plantar warts. However, it can also burn the skin that surrounds the warts. Therefore, it must be used with caution. If your warts grow or multiply, consult a podiatrist immediately.

Filing: it is not recommended to file or buff your warts. Trauma to the surrounding skin can spread the virus and make your warts increase in size or multiply.

Podiatrist care

Although warts may disappear on their own for some people, this is not the case for everyone. That’s why it is a good idea to consult a podiatrist, who can propose a variety of treatments to remedy your problem.

  • Prescription medication: your podiatrist can prescribe painless treatment you can do at home.
  • Canthacur PS: a treatment that leaves no painful scars on the bottom of the foot, and which can be used with children younger than 10 years old.
  • Pharmaceutical treatments: your podiatrist can also administer treatments, including no-needle injections of bleomycine sulfate for stubborn warts. Normally this treatment requires only 1 or 2 treatments per wart.
  • Laser or minor surgery: this method allows the removal of warts that resist other treatment.

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