Plantar Warts in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A plantar wart is a harmless skin growth. Plantar warts occur on the bottom of the feet and may be painful when your child walks. A virus makes the top layer of skin grow quickly, causing a wart. Warts usually go away on their own in months or years.

Warts are spread easily. Your child can infect himself or herself again by touching the wart and then touching another part of the body. Others can also be infected by sharing towels or other personal items.

Most plantar warts do not need treatment. But if warts cause your child pain or spread, your doctor may recommend that you use an over-the-counter treatment. These include salicylic acid or duct tape. Your doctor may prescribe a stronger medicine to put on warts or may inject them with medicine. Your doctor also can remove warts through surgery or by freezing them.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Use salicylic acid or duct tape as your doctor directs. You put the medicine or the tape on a wart for a while and then file down the dead skin on the wart. You use the salicylic acid treatment for 2 to 3 months or the tape for 1 to 2 months.
  • If your doctor prescribes medicine to put on warts, use it exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine.
  • Give your child comfortable shoes and socks to wear. Avoid shoes that put a lot of pressure on the foot.
  • Pad the wart with doughnut-shaped felt or a moleskin patch. You can buy these at a drugstore. Put the pad around the plantar wart so that it relieves pressure on the wart. You also can place pads or cushions in your child's shoes to make walking more comfortable.
  • Give your child an over-the-counter medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) if your child has pain. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 18. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • Do not give a child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from a wart.
    • Pus draining from a wart.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: October 5, 2017