Warts 1 South Coast Specialty - WartsUnsightly warts bothering you? Our board certified surgeons at South Coast Specialty make sure to stay on the leading edge with the latest techniques that are producing relief for patients of all ages and body types.

A plantar wart (verruca plantaris, VP; also commonly called a verruca) is a wart caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). It is a small lesion that appears on the sole of the foot and typically resembles a cauliflower. A plantar wart may have small black specks within it that ooze blood when the surface is cut or shaved; these are abnormal capillaries. Though the name plantar wart describes specifically HPV infection on the sole of the foot, infection by the virus is possible anywhere on the body and common especially on the palm of the hand, where the appearance of the wart is often exactly as described above for plantar warts. Because of pressure on the sole of the foot, a layer of hard skin forms over the wart. A plantar wart may or may not be painful. It can be spread in communal showers, around swimming pools, by sharing shoes, etc.

Here at South Coast Specialty our medical staff and surgeons will advise you on the steps to take to cure this problem. Plantar warts, can often be differentiated from helomata, corns, by close observation of skin striations. Feet, like hands, are covered in skin striae, which are more commonly called fingerprints. With plantar warts, the skin striae go around the lesion; if the lesion is not a plantar wart, the cells’ DNA is not altered and the striations continue across the top layer of the skin. Plantar warts tend to be painful on application of pressure from either side of the lesion rather than direct pressure. Helomata tend to be painful on direct pressure rather than pressure from either side.

Warts 2 South Coast Specialty  - WartsThe difference between plantar warts and warts elsewhere on the body is that warts are generally outgrowth lesions, but on the bottom of the foot, they are pushed inward by the pressure of walking. Since the skin on the bottom of the foot tends to be thicker than elsewhere, the treatment of plantar warts is more difficult.

Podiatrists and dermatologists are considered specialists in the treatment of plantar warts, though most warts are treated by primary care physicians. We will happily address the problem and find a corrective measure to fix it. Medical prescription options- Keratolytic Chemicals-The treatment of warts by keratolysis involves the peeling away of dead surface skin cells with trichloroacetic acid or salicylic acid.

Immunotherapy-Intralesional injection of antigens (mumps, candida or trichophytin antigens USP) is a new wart treatment which may trigger a host immune response to the wart virus, resulting in wart resolution. Distant, non-injected warts may also disappear. Chemotherapy-Topical application of dilute glutaraldehyde (a virucidal chemical, used for cold sterilization of surgical instruments) is an older effective wart treatment. More modern chemotherapy agents, like 5-fluoro-uracil, are also effective topically or injected intralesionally. Retinoids, systemically (eg. isotretinoin) or topically (tretinoin cream) may be effective.

Surgical options-

Liquid nitrogen-

Cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen. A common treatment that works by producing a blister under the wart. It is painful but usually nonscarring.

Electrodesiccation and surgical excision-

These produce scarring. If the wart recurs, the patient has a permanent scar along with the wart.


May be effective, especially the 585nm pulsed dye laser which the most effective treatment of all, and does not leave scars, but is generally a last resort treatment as it is expensive and painful, and multiple laser treatments are required (generally 4-6 treatments repeated once a month until the wart disappears).


Avoid walking barefoot in public areas- such as showers, communal changing rooms. (Covering with an adhesive bandage is not a safe method as it will not last for long at all, especially while showering or swimming)

Change shoes and socks daily.

Avoid sharing shoes and socks.

Avoid direct contact with warts on other parts of body.

Avoid direct contact with warts on other persons.