Understanding Warning Signs of Plantar Wart Complications

Plantar warts usually go away on their own, although it can take months—sometimes even years—for them to fully recede and disappear. However, podiatrists typically recommend a more proactive approach to wart care since untreated warts are contagious and can infect everyone sharing a living space. Some people also face a higher risk of plantar wart-related complications.

You should contact a podiatrist immediately if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Plantar warts that bleed
  • Plantar warts that seemingly change appearance
  • Plantar warts that appear resistant to over-the-counter treatments

Furthermore, anyone with serious preexisting health conditions—diabetes, nerve damage, or a weakened immune system—should never wait for plantar wars to run their course. People with diabetes, for instance, risk serious injury through common at-home wart remedies.

Treating Plantar Warts

Before recommending a plantar wart treatment, your podiatrist may need to inspect your feet and assess your overall health. Treatment plans are almost always individualized but often include the following:

Topical Medication

Topical medications and formulas are a common first-line approach in the treatment of plantar warts. Some solutions, like salicylic acid, can essentially debride wart-ridden tissue, removing infected tracts of skin and giving the body an opportunity to replace it with healthy tissue.


Cryotherapy is an effective and increasingly common treatment for plantar warts. In a typical cryotherapy session, your podiatrist will apply a small amount of frigid liquid nitrogen to the wart, freezing wart tissue and letting new skin grow in its place.

Although cryotherapy can take several sessions for results to become evident, it has a high success rate and reduces the risks of both scarring and recurrence.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy is usually employed as an alternative to topical medication and cryotherapy. Using a laser, your podiatrist may burn warts off the skin, causing them to fall off. This therapy is usually painless and can help promote healing, too.


During plantar wart surgery, your podiatrist may use specialized tools to cut away the tough skin that has grown over the plantar wart, which is subsequently destroyed with an electric needle. Since surgery carries a small risk of scarring, it is usually employed only as a last resort.

Dr. P. Roman Burk
Providing experienced private practice podiatry services in the Caldwell and Meridian, ID area since 2007.