Plantar Warts Overview

Are Plantar Warts Contagious?

Are plantar warts contagious? The simple answer to this question is yes. However, you should take a deep breath and examine all the facts before you bust out the socks and solemnly vow never to go barefoot again. Plantar warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which, like all viruses, is contagious. It can spread from person to person or from a warm, moist environment to a human being.

That said, the strain of HPV that causes plantar warts isn't highly contagious, and it affects everyone differently. Often antibodies will kill the virus before it has the chance to cause the warts. Plantar warts are more common in people with cuts or open sores on their feet and in people with weakened immune systems [source: Mayo Clinic]. The highest occurrence of plantar warts is in children aged 12 to 16 years old, though plantar warts do appear in all age groups [source: Cooper].

Although the strain of HPV that causes plantar warts isn't particularly communicable, you shouldn't take chances. Simple preventive measures will allow you to further reduce your chance of developing plantar warts. The first is to avoid direct contact with a plantar wart -- even your own -- because you can spread it to other areas of your foot. Don't pick at warts, and don't use any tools such as pumice stones or nail clippers that have been in touch with a plantar wart. As a general practice, keep your feet clean and dry and try to avoid walking barefoot in public places, especially if you have any open cuts or blisters on your feet [source: Podiatry Channel]. Stashing a pair of flip-flops in your gym bag for the shower will considerably lower your chance of developing plantar warts.

Once a wart has developed, it's time to plan your attack. Learn how to eradicate a pesky plantar wart on the next page.