Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Regardless of the home treatment or medical treatment
used, a cure is not guaranteed. Warts may reappear at any time. Most therapies require several treatments and strict adherence to them. Work with your doctor or dermatologist to determine which therapy is right for you.
In up to 60% of cases, plantar warts exhibit "spontaneous remission." This disappearance of the wart
is because of the action of the body's immune system.
Untreated, plantar warts may grow up to an inch across and spread into clusters. Since certain HPV
types are oncogenic (able to produce invasive malignant cancers), it is possible that plantar warts can rarely become invasive malignancies. Any wart-like lesion on the sole of the foot that does not resolve after appropriate therapy and continues to enlarge should be biopsied and examined by a pathologist.
A painful scar on the sole of the foot can pose an even more severe problem, which is why surgery is not the first choice of treatment.
Many of these warts resolve within one to two years. While they last, though, the warts are ugly, irritating, and often painful. For these reasons, many podiatrists (foot specialists) recommend having plantar warts treated.
Warts can grow back. This indicates a virus is still in the body and
growing. However, this is not cause for undue alarm. The virus that causes
plantar warts is relatively harmless and causes few problems. Warts can spread
to other parts of the body, particularly if scratching a wart causes it to
bleed. Blood from a wart contains the virus and can cause a new wart to grow in
an area that it touches.
Infection, pain, and scarring may result from overly aggressive home therapy penetrating beneath the skin surface. Pain can spread to other sites, and warts can be transmitted to others because of ineffective treatment.