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4 Reasons Why Your Plantar Wart Won't Go Away

plantar wart wont go away

Dealing with a plantar wart can bring up a lot of different feelings. Maybe you've tried different treatments, and regardless of what you've tried so far, this wart just won't go away. As a foot doctor or podiatrist, these warts are one of the many foot problems that I treat. Sometimes, people can struggle with these warts for years, until they find a combination of treatments that work for them. This post will help you learn why you're wart isn't going away, and give you a game plan on what do to about it.

4 Reasons Why Your Plantar Wart Won't Go Away

Table of Contents:

What Is a Plantar Wart?

Foot warts, also known as plantar warts, are found on the soles or the bottom of your feet. They are caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV, which enters the skin through tiny cuts or scratches on your feet. There are over 100 types of HPV, but HPV strains 1 and 2 cause plantar warts [1]. Once this virus is inside your body is inside, HPV causes fast and unorganized cell growth, leading to a wart. These warts can be very painful, and can even bleed.

Reasons Why Your Plantar Won't Go Away Include:

1. A Weak Immune System

plantar wart wont go away

Your immune system plays a key role in fighting off viruses, including HPV. If your immune system is compromised or weak due to illness, stress, or other factors, you may struggle to fight off the virus, making the plantar wart a lot harder to go away.

Vitamin deficiencies like Zinc, Magnesium, or Vitamin D directly impact your immune system and make it much harder to fight off infection, including the HPV that is causing your plantar wart.

If you consistently aren't getting enough sleep, aren't drinking enough water, are stressed, or aren't eating a healthy diet, this also will weaken your immune system and make it much harder for you to clear your plantar wart.

Holistic podiatry helps address all of these by taking all of the factors into account, getting to the root cause of why specifically why you aren't able to heal your plantar wart and get it to go away for good.

2. The Chosen Treatment Isn't Right For You

Not all treatments for plantar warts work the same. But also the same treatment will not work for everyone. It's important that you see a foot doctor with several treatments available in their arsenal, and to keep in mind that if one treatment is not working, it is ok to switch to another treatment.

Common treatments used to treat a plantar wart include over-the-counter treatments like Compound W. Treatments that can only be performed by a doctor for a plantar wart only from a doctor include Cantharadin Plus, Faulkner's Needling, and as a last resort surgically removing the wart.

Compound W

plantar wart wont go away

Compound W is the most common over-the-counter plantar wart treatment available. Compound W can be found in every major pharmacy nationwide and online. Compound W is actually salicylic acid. How this works is that the salicylic acid, when applied to the wart causes the skin to swell, and take on extra water.

This eventually will damage the skin cells, and the skin will start to peel and slough off, exfoliating the area with the wart. Over time, will consistent application, the wart should get better.

Even though Compound W is a great tool for treating a plantar wart, it does not work for everyone. If you have been using Compound W, or really any other over-the-counter wart treatment with little to no improvement, book an appointment with your local foot doctor.

Cantharidin Plus

plantar wart wont go away

Cantharidin Plus' main ingredient is a compound that comes from the Spanish Fly, commonly known as the blister beetle. The body of this beetle is processed, and when it's applied to the skin, in this case a plantar wart, it causes a blister, as the blister forms over 24-48 hours. To speed up the blistering process, once Cantharidin is applied on the wart, a non-breathable bandage is applied on your foot to allow the Cantharidin to penetrate deeper layers of skin.

After 24 hrs, you will rinse off the Cantharidin, and the doctor will give you special pads to wear around the area treated on your foot to protect this area from added pressure when you walk or stand. As this area heals, over time Cantharadin should slowly get rid of the blister. Canthardin Plus also contains salicylic acid, which helps in the exfoliation process as well.

Because Cantharadin is much more aggressive than Compound W, this treatment is only applied by a doctor, and should never be applied or used at home.

Cantharidin usually is applied every 2 weeks until the wart is gone.

Faulker's Needling

plantar wart wont go away

For plantar warts that just won't go away with the above treatments, there is a procedure called Faulkner's Needling. Local anesthesia is injected around the plantar wart so that you don't feel any pain during the procedure. After you're numb, a tiny needle is used to poke holes in your wart. The needling pushes the virus deeper into your skin, which causes your body to react with a stronger immune response, fighting off the HPV virus, and clearing your plantar wart.

Faulker's Needling has a high success rate, of at least 85% percent. The full results are seen over 3 months. [2]

Surgical Removal of Plantar Wart

The last resort for a plantar wart that won't go away with all of the other treatment options is surgically removing the wart, or cutting it out. This can be done in the office, under local anesthesia. You will be numbed, and the wart is cut out. Stitches will be placed in the skin to keep everything together while you heal, and in about 2 weeks, you will return to the office for the stitches to be removed.

Surgical removal of a plantar wart is the most invasive and requires the most downtime from the patient. But the option does exist for this if needed.

3. Wrong Diagnosis

plantar wart wont go away

It is possible that if your doctor doesn't have a lot of experience treating plantar warts, or if you self-diagnosed your problem as a plantar wart, this could be wrong. Because of this, any wart treatments, whether they are over the counter, or in a doctor's office will not work for something that isn't a wart to begin with.

For example, a callus can look similar to a wart, and be just as painful, but will not respond to wart treatment.

Other skin growths can be painful as well, and will not respond to plantar wart treatment.

Worst-case scenario, skin cancers like melanoma can also possibly be painful as well.

This is why it is so important, that if you have a new growth on your foot, especially if it is painful, and changing in color or size, to see a foot doctor immediately. At a doctor's office, we can take a biopsy of this area on your foot, send it to a lab, and figure out exactly what this growth is.

Once we know what the growth is, we can treat it properly, or even refer you to another doctor if needed, to be sure that you get the most specialized and correct care.

4. You're Reinfecting Yourself

plantar wart wont go away

Even if you're you've tried the above treatment options in an attempt to get your plantar wart to go away once and for all, if you are unknowingly participating in behaviors or activities that have a high risk of contracting HPV on your foot, the chances that the plantar wart will go away completely is low. These behaviors that increase the risk of re-infecting yourself with a plantar wart or it spreading include:

  • Being barefoot in public spaces: One reason why plantar warts are so hard to treat, is because the virus can live on surfaces for months to YEARS. Being barefoot in locker rooms, shared showers, spas, and even airplanes can set you up for re-infection. When in public spaces, always have at least a slipper on.

  • Sharing shoes with other people: This is never a good idea. HPV can live in warm, dark places. The inside of a shoe is a perfect place for this, If you don't walk barefoot in public spaces, your friends and family that you're sharing shoes with might do this, and this is another reason your plantar wart won't go away.

  • Picking at a plantar wart: Picking at your plantar wart, can increase the risk that this wart spreads to other parts of your foot, or even can infect your hands, specifically your fingertips, or even underneath your fingernails.

  • Not properly disinfecting surfaces where your feet can be: After you know for certain that you have a plantar wart, disinfecting surfaces where your feet have been is key. This can be as simple as taking a can of Lysol and spraying the inside of your shoes after wearing them, and also making it a point to spray your shower or bathtub after use. This will lower the risk significantly of re-infecting yourself with the same HPV.

Key Takeaways:

plantar wart wont go away

Having a plantar wart is stressful for many people, having a plantar wart that won't go away, can be downright scary. Reasons that a plantar wart won't go away range from not having a strong enough immune system to fight the HPV infection that causes these warts, not having the right treatment or combination of treatments, accidentally re-infecting yourself, or your wart not being a wart in the first place. If you have a plantar wart that isn't getting better, please see a foot doctor in your area. They will be able to get to the root cause of why your plantar want won't go away, and help you clear it for good.

Schedule Your Appointment at Direct Podiatry Arizona Today

Do you have a plantar wart that won't go away, are you in the Phoneix area? My name is Dr. Tarr, and I am the owner of Direct Podiatry Arizona. I do offer holistic podiatry services for plantar warts as well as Cantharidin Plus, Faulker's Needling, and even surgical removal of plantar warts. To view my available appointment times, click here.


Baveja, Sukriti, et al. “Falkner’s Needling Technique for the Treatment of Warts: Minimum Investment, Maximum Benefit.” Medical Journal, Armed Forces India, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2022,

“Compound W Topical: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing.” WebMD, WebMD, Accessed 21 June 2024.

G;, Laurent R;Kienzler JL;Croissant O;Orth. “Two Anatomoclinical Types of Warts with Plantar Localization: Specific Cytopathogenic Effects of Papillomavirus. Type I (HPV-1) and Type 2 (HPV-2).” Archives of Dermatological Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Accessed 21 June 2024.

Lisa Moed, BA. “Cantharidin Revisited.” Archives of Dermatology, JAMA Network, 1 Oct. 2001,

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