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Plantar Warts (cont.)

What Is the Prognosis of Plantar Warts?

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 a doctor or dermatologist to determine which therapy is best.

  • 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 1 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 excisional surgery is not a desirable treatment option.
  • 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 type of HPV 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.


Bruggink, Sjoerd C., et al. "HPV type in plantar warts influences natural course and treatment response: Secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial." Journal of Clinical Virology 57 (2013): 227-232.

Cardoso, J.C., and E. Calonje. "Cutaneous manifestations of human papillomaviruses: A review." Acta Dermatoven APA 20.3 (2011): 145-154.

De Planell-Mas, Elena, et al. "Human Papillomaviruses Genotyping in Plantar Warts." Journal of Medical Virology. DOI 10.1002/jmv.24713.

Kollipara, Ramya, et al. "Advancements in Pharmacotherapy for Noncancerous Manifestations of HPV." J Clin Med 4.5 May 2015: 832-846.

Lipke, M. "An Armamentarium of Wart Treatments." Clinical Medicine & Research 4.4 Dec. 1, 2006: 273-293.

Naymor, M. "Cutaneous Human Papillomavirus Infections." The Electronic Textbook of Dermatology. <>.

"Plantar Warts." Warts Information Center. <>.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017

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