How to Treat Foot Warts

Foot warts are not always painful, but they are usually annoying. Fortunately, learning how to treat foot warts is not difficult.

Warts are actually benign (noncancerous) tumors. When they occur on the soles of the feet, they are called "plantar warts." Warts are caused by a virus that enters the foot through a cut or crack in the skin. Many warts disappear as mysteriously as they arrived, but not all warts go away on their own. Some can become painful, especially if they are in an area that receives a lot of pressure.

One of the most important elements of treating warts at home is keeping your feet dry. To accomplish this:

  • Dry your feet, including the area between your toes, thoroughly after bathing or showering.

  • Use over-the-counter foot powder. Sprinkle it onto your feet and into your shoes to absorb moisture.

  • Wear absorbent socks. If you find that your feet sweat a great deal, change your socks during the course of the day.

  • Wear shoes with uppers made of a porous material, such as leather, that allows air to reach your feet.

  • Soak your feet in a tub of warm water that is highly saturated with salt.

Commercial treatments for warts include salicylic acid pads, ointments, and solutions. People who have diabetes or other circulatory, immunological, or neurological disorders should not self treat. And over-the-counter treatments should never be used in the presence of an active infection.

If you do use a commercial product, follow the package directions very carefully to avoid burning the surrounding healthy skin. To help protect the surrounding skin when using an ointment or solution, apply petroleum jelly in a ring around the wart or use a doughnut-shaped pad cut to fit around the wart before applying the medication.

Never attempt to cut off a wart. A podiatric doctor may prescribe and supervise the use of wart-removal products. However, a doctor is more likely to remove them using a laser treatment (CO2 laser cautery). A local anesthetic is used to numb the area first. Using a laser reduces post-treatment scarring and is a safe form of eliminating wart lesions, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.

To help prevent warts, avoid walking barefoot on surfaces where contamination may be lurking, such as public shower stalls; wear thongs (flip-flops) in such situations.

Another painful foot condition involves a swelling of the protective sacs around the joints of your feet. Discover what causes bursitis -- and how to relieve the pain that results -- in the next section.

To learn more about treating and avoiding problems with your feet, visit:

  • Foot Injuries: Find out how to avoid unpleasant injuries to your feet, or at least reduce pain and prevent infection after they occur, with these simple suggestions.
  • How to Care for Your Feet: Learn how to keep your feet -- and yourself -- healthy and happy with these tips on caring for your feet, including selecting the right shoes.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.