Do plantar warts go away? What you need to know

Warts on the toes and feet are disliked by adults, parents, teens, and children alike, however, the question is, do they go away? Plantar warts develop on the plantar surfaces of our feet, a high weight-bearing surface. The pressure from walking, plus the calluses our body can form around the grainy and discolored growth, is the primary cause of discomfort. At Arizona Foot Doctors, our experienced podiatrists can help identify and diagnose these types of warts. If you’re wondering, “do plantar warts go away?” following our guide can help answer that question and consider the best treatment options.

What causes plantar warts?

Plantar warts are a benign viral skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. There are over 100 different variations of HPV, but only certain strains are responsible for warts on the hands and feet. Plantar warts thrive in warm, moist environments and can be spread through indirect transmission: for instance, the virus can remain on a shower floor or towel. If you use a shower after someone who has these warts or step on the shared bath mat with bare feet, the virus can be contracted. Sometimes, the virus enters the human body through cuts in the skin. 

Plantar wart causes can be anywhere from not changing socks regularly, walking barefoot, and not thoroughly drying the feet. Fortunately, you can take these steps to prevent developing plantar warts:

  • Do not walk barefoot, especially at public pools and locker rooms.
  • Change your socks throughout the day.
  • Check your feet regularly for any unusual growths.
  • Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Do not come in direct contact with warts.
Pediatric Patient Receiving Foot Pain Ultrasound

Are plantar warts dangerous?

Thankfully, plantar warts do not compromise your overall health. They are not cancerous, and most are no larger than your pinky fingernail. However, some do grow larger and turn into clusters known as mosaic warts. Sometimes they are mistaken for corns or calluses, and so it is vital to have your skin lesion diagnosed by a podiatrist. Plantar warts typically have a grainy appearance and a flat, rough surface and are either gray or brown. Another distinguishing factor is that they may have small black spots.

Can I treat plantar warts at home? 

Some people attempt plantar wart treatment at home, hoping to reduce or eliminate warts. You may see over-the-counter remedies containing salicylic acid, a liquid peeling agent, or patch that removes dead skin cells. Others are marketed as OTC freezing sprays that mimic cryotherapy and kill off warts’ cells. The problem is that these methods can also destroy healthy skin cells. These home remedies are especially risky for diabetics, who are more likely to develop slow-healing wounds and serious infections. Some plantar warts can disappear on their own after several months. While the wart may be gone, the virus can still be present and latent. You may hear about studies on iodine, tea tree oil, or apple cider vinegar. More research is needed, however, to confirm their effectiveness. 

The most common and most preferred method for plantar wart treatment is electrocautery (hyfrecation). Using this plantar wart treatment, provided by Arizona Foot Doctors, the area of the foot is first numbed using a local anesthetic. When the wart is removed using an “electric needle.” This “electric needle” method is most successful because the wart and the virus are treated. There is very little pain after the treatment, and normal activities can usually begin within a day. At Arizona Foot Doctors, we offer electrocautery along with topical medications. Multiple office visits are required, and recurrence of the wart is more common.

Young Boy with Plantar Wart on Foot

Do plantar warts go away?

As mentioned, yes! Plantar warts can fade on their own after several months. For some, however, these warts will recur since the virus can still be present. Thankfully, Arizona Foot Doctors can treat these warts and help you get relief more quickly. We use an advanced method known as electrocautery. After treatment, you can usually resume normal activities within one day. 

Your trusted Scottsdale foot care center

For questions about plantar warts and foot care, speak with the skilled and experienced podiatrists at Arizona Foot Doctors. Our mission is to provide the best possible treatment to families in our community. We focus on gentle family foot care delivered with compassion, transparency, and ethics. Book an appointment online or call our office at (480) 661-7572 to get support for plantar wart treatment.