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Plantar Warts

Removal of plantar warts should be accomplished with nonsurgical methods, as opposed to surgical removal, because scarring in this location can cause permanent discomfort. The lesion should be pared and then treated with application of 40% salicylic acid plasters , taped in place for 1 to 3 days, followed by scraping off of the macerated skin. This procedure is used for 2 to 3 weeks and can be performed by the patient. A salicylic acid preparation suspended in a karaya gum that promotes absorption of planter warts.

Daily 10% formalin or 25% glutaraldehyde compresses are sometimes used for mosaic plantar warts. Occlusal-HP is a prescription salicylic acid-lactic acid combination that contains salicylic acid in a polyacrylic base.


Prevention entails avoiding others with warts and removing warts from the patient so that the viral reservoir is reduced. Although warts may initially have come from contact with others, biting and picking at warts may result in additional lesions. Patients with periungual warts should be cautioned that biting.

Treatment of warts can be both time consuming and expensive. Recurrences are seen in about one-third of instances. The patient must be made to understand that warts are caused by a virus and that treatment usually does not eliminate the virus. Nonetheless, reassurance can be given that in most instances the plantar warts will resolve spontaneously.