Are Plantar Warts Contagious?

28 June 2023

If you’ve discovered some rough growths on your feet that you’re pretty sure are warts, it’s likely that you’ll have two pressing questions – how on earth did you get them, and are they contagious? Plantar warts are contagious and they’re often in difficult spots on your feet, and irritate you when you walk.

At Capital Podiatry, we focus on all things feet. We have invested in SWIFT medical microwave technology – and we’re successfully treating those hard-to-treat warts that haven’t responded to other treatments.

What is SWIFT wart therapy?

SWIFT wart therapy is a breakthrough treatment for warts using cutting-edge microwave technology. For most of our patients, the wart disappears after three to four treatments, allowing patients to get back to their life without painful, embarrassing warts.

The treatment’s microwaves target the virus causing the warts. There is no scarring, freezing, burning or scalpels.

The old way of treating warts was to treat them with acid, freeze them or cut out the warts. However, this old way did not treat the virus itself. Our SWIFT medical microwave technology sends a focused microwave signal, to create heat shock within the infected skin cells. This causes the wart to release a certain type of protein. The immune system recognises the infection and starts to fight the virus.

Surgery does not get rid of the virus. Even if you cut out the plantar warts, the virus is still there.

What are Plantar Warts?

This is the name given to warts that develop in the plantar region – that is, the soles of the feet. These small, rough growths usually appear on areas that receive the most pressure – the balls and heels of your feet. The pressure can also sometimes cause warts to grow inwards, beneath a thick, hard layer of skin (or callous). These warts have their own blood supply and dark spots are sometimes visible beneath the surface – these are blood vessels that have ruptured when walking on the wart.

Plantar warts are painful. It can feel like you’re walking on a pebble. They can alter your normal posture or gait – to compensate for the pain or discomfort.

What Causes Plantar Warts?

All warts are caused by variations of the human papillomavirus (HPV). In fact, there are more than 100 kinds of HPV – but only a few of them cause warts on the feet. Others are more likely to cause warts on other parts of the body. It’s also important to note that each person’s immune system responds differently to HPV, so not everyone who comes into contact with it will develop warts.

Plantar warts, specifically, invade the top layers of skin through tiny cuts or scrapes on the bottom of the feet. The virus can lie dormant for weeks or even months after initial exposure before warts develop. As most people build an immunity to HPV as they age, these warts are more common in children and people with weak immune systems.

Are Plantar Warts Contagious?

The HPV strains that cause plantar warts are not highly contagious, so it doesn’t spread easily by direct contact between people. These strains do, however, thrive in warm, moist environments (like shower floors, gyms and public swimming pools), so you’re much more likely to pick it up from surface contact.

Keep in mind that the virus still needs a point of entry into the skin. As such, you are more at risk of being infected if your skin is damaged or if it’s wet and softened.

How did I get Plantar Warts?

As we’ve touched on above, there are a few ways that plantar warts can spread:

  • From person to personWhilst you won’t necessarily develop a wart if you touch someone else’s wart, it is a possible way for HPV to spread. Having a cut or scratch in the area that you touched the wart with makes transmission even more likely (this is one reason that it’s so common amongst children, who are more prone to these sorts of injuries).
  • From surface to personIt is possible to get warts by touching a surface that someone with an active infection has touched (including walking barefoot on a floor that someone with plantar warts has also walked barefoot on). It’s also possible to get them by sharing personal items, like towels. Keep in mind that you’re more likely to get HPV from wet surfaces.
  • From other parts of your bodyDid you know that warts can spread from one part of your body to another? If you pick at, scratch or even just touch a growth on one part of your body, then do the same to another part, the warts could spread there. Shaving can also spread warts, as it makes scraped or open skin more likely (although this is not usually a problem for your feet).

The Outlook is Bright with Capital Podiatry

Plantar warts are very common in people of all ages and they’re nothing to be ashamed of.  The good news is that with our SWIFT technology there is no freezing, acid, burning or surgery. Book an  appointment with Capital Podiatry and our podiatrist Canberra will treat your warts.


CALL(02) 6293 3300

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