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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Warts and Plantar Warts - When To Call a Doctor

See your doctor if:

  • You aren't sure if a skin growth is a wart. If you are older than age 60 and have never had warts, consider seeing your family doctor or other health professional to check for skin cancer.
  • Nonprescription home treatment isn't successful after 2 to 3 months.
  • Warts are growing or spreading rapidly despite treatment.
  • Signs of bacterial infection develop, including:
    • Increased pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or heat.
    • Red streaks extending from the area.
    • Discharge of pus.
    • Fever.
  • A plantar wart becomes too painful to walk on.
  • You have diabetes or peripheral arterial disease and you need treatment for a wart on a leg or foot.
  • You have warts on your genitals or around the anus. For more information, see the topic Genital Warts.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. It is often appropriate treatment for warts, because they generally go away on their own within months or years. But you may want to consider treating a wart to prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body or to other people. You can try a nonprescription wart treatment for 2 to 3 months before deciding to see a doctor.

Who to see

Warts can be diagnosed and treated by most health professionals, including:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 26, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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