When Do Warts Become a Health Concern?

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When Do Warts Become a Health Concern?

There are almost as many folk cures for warts as for hiccups. Most of us don’t think of warts as serious, but sometimes they require medical treatment.

What do you think of when you think about warts? Witches? Frogs? Warts are more common than you realize. Rather than appearing on witches’ noses or being “caught” from handling frogs, they can be anywhere on the body and are caused by a virus. 

At Hansen Foot & Ankle, Dr. Nathan Hansen and his staff can help you eliminate plantar warts—warts that occur on your feet—either through treatment of the virus or by removing the wart. Sometimes, warts can become a health concern unless you receive appropriate medical treatment. 

This post describes how you can recognize a wart when it could be a health concern and what kinds of treatments are common. 

General wart information

Warts don’t all look the same and can appear anywhere on your body. At Hansen Foot & Ankle, we help specifically with plantar warts

Warts are caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than a hundred strains of HPV. 

Warts are non-malignant, which means they’re not cancerous. They can cause irritation and pain, though. A plantar wart can feel especially tender when you walk. 

Plantar warts are usually tiny, about the size of a pencil eraser, though they can be larger. Most of the time, plantar warts don’t stick up as much as warts on other body parts because walking on them flattens them out. 

You’ll usually only have one plantar wart, though they can occur in clusters. When that happens, they’re called mosaic warts. 

Sometimes, you may think a wart is a callus or corn, but generally, warts are smaller. Some warts have small black dots, which are blood vessels that have grown into the wart. 

When is a wart a worry? 

Most of the time, warts go away. But, if you have a plantar wart that irritates or hurts you, you should seek care. 

In some cases, warts are problematic. You should see a medical professional if your wart: 

  • Bleeds or oozes liquid
  • Hurts
  • Grows fast
  • Spreads or multiplies

Treating plantar warts

Dr. Hansen uses several different treatment approaches to get rid of plantar warts. The best one depends on your circumstances. Some common treatments include: 


Salicylic acid - can be a topical gel, liquid, or small pad that sticks to your skin. The acid dissolves the tissue of the wart.


Liquid nitrogen - Sometimes called cryotherapy, it freezes the wart so that the dead tissue can be removed.

Surgery - Dr. Hansen surgically removes the wart and some of the tissue around it so that it can’t regrow.

You don’t have to live with the discomfort of a wart. Get back to your busy, active life with appropriate treatment. Schedule your appointment at Hansen Foot & Ankle today.