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Treatment for Plantar Warts

What are plantar warts?

Plantar warts are small growths on the bottoms of your child’s feet. Plantar warts are caused by a virus. They spread easily from person to person. Children are more likely to get the virus if they have weak immune systems. 

The virus that causes plantar warts is not life-threatening.  But the warts can be uncomfortable and difficult to treat.

Your child's care team might need to try more than one treatment for plantar warts. 

Treatment for plantar warts 

There are several topical ways to treat plantar warts. These include: 

  • Putting cantharidin on the wart 
  • Using salicylic acid on the wart 
  • Freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen 

Your child's care team will decide which topical treatment to try first. If the topical treatments do not work, then your child's care team might recommend minor surgery. Usually, surgery is the last method they will try. 

Topical treatments for plantar warts 

Your child’s care team will try the topical treatment they think will work best. Then, they will bandage the wart.

Your child can do everyday activities after treatment. But they should not take a bath or shower for 24 hours or until told to do so.

After 3 days, your child’s doctor may ask you to replace the bandage.

After 10 to 14 days, your child will go back to see their care team. They  will check the foot and do any other treatments your child needs.

Minor surgery for plantar warts 

If topical treatment does not work, the care team might recommend minor surgery to take off the wart. Your child may have it removed in their doctor's office or at a podiatry clinic.

The doctor will: 

  • Give your child an injection (shot) to numb their foot  
  • Use a small blade to take off the wart 
  • Put a bandage on your child’s foot

After the wart removal, follow the care team's instructions. They may include: 

  • Keeping the bandage on the foot all-day 
  • Keeping their foot up for the rest of the day 
  • Using medicines as prescribed 

You can usually take off your child’s bandage the next morning. They may be able to take a shower or bathe.

Next, you can apply antibiotic ointment on the spot where the doctor removed the wart. Cover this area with a self-stick bandage, but not too tightly. If the bandage falls off, you can put on a new one. 

Keep using the antibiotic ointment and bandages until your child’s next appointment.

Ways to prevent plantar warts 

You can take steps to prevent plantar warts. Your child should: 

  • Wash their hands and feet well 
  • Dry the area between the toes completely 
  • Not share shoes with other children
  • Not pick at their warts
  • Wear sandals or flip-flops in locker rooms, public showers, and other public places 

Other tips: 

  • Ask your doctor how to keep your child’s feet dry. 
  • If family members have warts, they should get treatment. 
  • Use disinfectant to clean anything your child walks on with bare feet, such as carpets,  floors, and the shower. 
  • Use a cleaner with bleach to clean the shower. 
  • Disinfect your child’s shoes with a disinfectant spray. 

Key Points

  • Plantar warts are small growths on the bottoms of your child’s feet. 
  • Plantar warts spread easily from person to person. 
  • Plantar warts treatments include topical medicine or surgery. 
  • It may take several rounds of treatment to remove a plantar wart. 


If you have questions about plantar warts, please contact your primary care provider or a podiatry clinic.  

Reviewed: September 2022