Plantar Warts Suck…and Most Treatments Don’t Work

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HPV Warts

Current treatments for plantar warts, which are caused by HPV, are mostly ineffective.Journal of Clinical Virology (1)

A new study says that most treatments don’t work for plantar warts (1).

The most common treatments for plantar warts are liquid-nitrogen cryotherapy or topical salicylic acid application (1). Because of “limited effectiveness, side-effects and costs of treatments, some physicians promote a wait-and-see policy (1).”

Plantar warts that are difficult to treat are normally caused by HPV types 2, 27, and 57. These strains can cause “a persistent wart, which in most cases is resistant to treatment (1).”


In fact, the strain of HPV may directly determine how effective the treatment is. As Dr. Bruggink and colleagues wrote “HPV type influenced the natural course and response to treatment for plantar warts.” (1) Dr. Bruggink is from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at  Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands.

According to the Mayo Clinic, in a page last updated on May 3, 2011, plantar warts are formed by the HPV virus “in the outer layer of skin on the sole of your feet. There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only a few types are known to cause warts on your feet. Other types of HPV are more likely to cause warts on other areas of your skin or on mucous membranes (2).”

The bottom line?

Each person’s immune system responds differently to HPV. Not everyone who comes in contact with it develops warts. Even people in the same family react to the virus differently. However, if you do become infected, it’s important to boost the immune system so that it can more efficiently target the HPV virus that causes the plantar wart.


(1) Bruggink SC1, Gussekloo J, de Koning MN, Feltkamp MC, Bavinck JN, Quint WG, Assendelft WJ, Eekhof JA. “HPV type in plantar warts influences natural course and treatment response: secondary analysis of a randomised controlled trial.”J Clin Virol. 2013 Jul;57(3):227-32.

(2) – Diseases and Conditions –
Plantar Warts – Published May 22, 2014.

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