Plantar Warts



Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). A person can get the virus from direct contact with HPV. This can happen by walking on a surface infected with the virus. Touching and scratching can cause the virus to spread.

Risk Factors

Things that raise the risk of plantar warts are:

  • Contact with an infected person or surface
  • Having a weakened immune system due to:
    • HIV infection
    • Taking medicine that suppresses the immune system



Plantar warts may cause:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Hard, flat growths on the bottom of the feet
  • A rough surface with a defined border
  • A center with pinpoints of black


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the feet. This is often enough to make the diagnosis. A foot or skin doctor may also check and diagnose the condition.



The goal of treatment in healthy children and adults is to remove the wart. It is also to stop the virus from spreading. This can be done with:

  • Duct tape to cover the wart and a pumice stone to sand it down
  • Over the counter or prescription wart remover medicine
  • Cryotherapy—freezing the warts to kill the virus
  • Laser treatment—using a laser to kill the virus and destroy wart tissue

Treatments may not always work. However, plantar warts often go away on their own,


To lower the risk of plantar warts, protect feet from the virus:

  • Do not share shoes or socks with someone who has the virus.
  • Keep feet dry and change socks every day.
  • Wear plastic sandals when going to public pools or using public bathrooms and showers.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.