Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are skin growths that occur on the feet or surrounding areas. Plantar warts are skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) that typically develop on the soles of the feet, particularly on weight-bearing areas like the heels or balls of the feet. These warts can be painful, especially when walking or standing.

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Plantar Warts are “cauliflower-like” growths on the skin of the feet. They are also known as verrucae and are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which enters the skin through cracks or other breaks.

Plantar warts, although located on the feet, are just one manifestation of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a highly contagious virus. It can lead to the development of warts on various body parts, including the fingers, neck, and eyelids. To prevent further spread:

  • Avoid Scratching or Peeling: Refrain from scratching or peeling existing warts, minimizing the risk of spreading the virus within your body and to others.
  • Pain Causes: Pain often results from the thickening of the callus over the wart or when the affected area experiences significant pressure, such as squeezing between fingers.
  • Caution with Home Remedies: Neglect or the use of acid-based home remedies may exacerbate pain and discomfort, potentially leading to the accumulation of pus.

Is it important to seek care for plantar warts?

Yes, seeking care for plantar warts is crucial. Warts are viral and contagious, easily spreading from one part of the body to another. Individuals with one wart may notice multiple lesions on their feet. However, not everyone exposed to the virus develops warts due to varying immune responses.

While most warts are generally harmless, they can become painful. Seeking podiatric intervention promptly is especially important if:

  • Pain or Discomfort: The wart causes pain or discomfort during activities like walking or standing.
  • Individuals with increased risk: You live with someone at an increased risk, such as a child, elderly person, or someone with a compromised immune system.

Timely professional care can address the discomfort and minimise the risk of further transmission, ensuring optimal foot health.

Managing Plantar Warts

Your podiatrist will assess the wart(s) to determine the best solution. Some common methods include:

  • Cryotherapy – A freezing agent, such as liquid nitrogen, is applied to the wart over multiple sessions. This procedure can be painful, so your podiatrist may numb the area first to minimise discomfort.
  • Wart needling – Wart needling involves the repeated pricking of the wart with a hollow needle. This process activates the patient’s immune system to target and eliminate the virus responsible for the wart and encourages natural healing with minimal discomfort and downtime.

As traditional methods for resolving plantar warts can be uncomfortable, it is advisable to wear a comfortable pair of shoes to the clinic and allow a few hours of rest after the consultation.

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Common Symptoms

Small, rough growths on the feet
Dried blood clots (wart seeds)

How It Looks Like

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Can I remove plantar warts on my own?

While some home remedies, such as salicylic acid or apple cider vinegar are sometimes used to resolve plantar warts, it is important to speak to a foot specialist or podiatrist before using them. Off the shelf products often contain acid-based ingredients that can burn the wart and surrounding skin. This is particularly risky for patients with compromised immune systems, such as those with diabetes or neuropathy. Patients with diabetes may have difficulty fighting off infections or recovering from wounds, while those with neuropathy could unknowingly aggravate their wounds due to the lack of sensation.

What happens if you don’t remove a plantar wart?

Plantar warts that are left unaddressed can cause pain and spread to other parts of the body, and even to other people in the household. Over time, they may merge to form a mosaic wart, which will make it harder to resolve.

Do plantar warts go away on their own?

In many cases, depending on the individual’s condition and immune system, minor plantar warts may resolve on their own, but severe or mosaic plantar warts can cause prolonged pain and spread across the patient’s body. It is advisable to see a foot specialist or podiatrist to ensure that you receive proper care to minimise the risk of recurrence.

Should you cut out a plantar wart?

Scratching, cutting, or pulling out a plantar wart may seem inviting. However, amateur surgery may not successfully remove the core of the wart, leading to a high likelihood of recurrence or serious infection.

How do I prevent plantar warts?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) thrives in Singapore’s warm and moist environment, and can be found in common places like swimming pools, locker rooms, or even bathrooms at home. Another key way of transmission is through exposure. Children and teens are much more likely to contract warts as opposed to their adult counterparts, and can go on to spread the virus to their family members or close contacts. Several methods to prevent plantar warts includes changing your shoes and socks regularly, avoiding barefoot walking around swimming pools and locker rooms, limiting interaction with family members that have warts, and washing hands thoroughly after touching warts, including your own.

Have a question?

Ms Shirley is a very nice podiatrist. Detailed and gave good explanation to my foot issue. I suffered with a wart and went to a dermatologist to solve it but it didn’t work until I went to East Coast Podiatry and did needling and my issue has now been resolved thanks to Ms Shirley! 100% recommend!

Louisa Janssen

Our Podiatry Care Strategy

Efficient Plantar Warts’ Management for Foot Health

Our approach to treating plantar warts is personalised, depending on the severity of the condition. The podiatrist will assess the warts to determine the best solution. Cryotherapy and wart needling are some of the commonly-used methods used for getting rid of the warts, and recommendations will be tailored to your specific situation and needs.

Clinical examination of the plantar warts

Diagnosis to confirm the condition

Treatment and customised management plan

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Georgina Tay
Senior Podiatrist & Head of Department

Patient Success


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