Facts About Warts

Plantar Wart Causes

Plantar warts are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the outer layer of skin on the soles of your feet. There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only a few types are known to cause warts on your feet.

The viruses thrive in warm, moist environments — such as shower floors, locker rooms and public swimming areas. Consequently, you may contract the virus by walking barefoot around pools or gyms.

The virus also needs to have a point of entry into the skin, such as:

  • Cracks in dry skin
  • Cuts or scrapes
  • Wet, softened, fragile skin from prolonged water exposure

If the virus spreads from the original site of infection, multiple warts may appear. These may include:

  • Several individual warts at different sites on the foot
  • "Kissing warts," a pair of warts that appear where two parts of the foot touch, such as a point of contact between two toes or between a toe and the ball of foot
  • Mosaics, clusters of warts that essentially form a large, single lesion

Preventing Warts

No matter how well you take care of your skin, there is unfortunately no foolproof way to avoid getting warts. There are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting or spreading them.

Here’s how you can reduce your risk of getting warts:

  • Avoid biting and chewing fingernails and cuticles. This can predispose skin to infection.
  • Wash hands often (reiterate the importance of this to children).
  • Moisturize – especially dry, cracked skin.
  • Always wear sandals or flip flops in public showers, locker rooms and pools to prevent plantar warts.
  • Clean cuts and scratches thoroughly with soap and water since they are susceptible to warts and other infections.
  • Never share razors, towels or socks with others. Even if no wart is visible, they may still carry the virus.
  • Keep your hands and feet dry and wear extra-absorbent socks if your feet sweat a lot to help prevent.
  • Avoid touching other people’s warts.

Are Warts Contagious?

Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way. Wart viruses are contagious.

Avoid spreading warts by:

  • Not rubbing or scratching your wart
  • Keeping the wart covered with a bandage, tape, etc.
  • Never brushing, combing, shaving or clipping areas with warts
  • Washing your hands immediately after touching your wart

No matter how hard you try, you may get a wart at one time or another. But don’t worry, Compound W® is available so you can treat warts at home and get back to looking and feeling great.