Plantar Warts Specialist

Plantar warts are fleshy growths that form on the bottom or the side of the foot, resulting in painful symptoms that can interfere with walking. As a leading podiatrist in San Francisco, Dr. Joseph Stern is skilled in the treatment of plantar warts using an array of methods to help patients enjoy pain-free mobility.

Plantar Warts Q&A

What are plantar warts?

Plantar warts are fleshy growths that form on the side or the bottom of the foot, causing pain ranging from mild to severe, depending on the size of the growth and its location. Without treatment, warts can grow to become quite large, causing considerable pain when walking and when wearing shoes. Plantar warts can affect anyone, but infection is more common among people with compromised immune systems or circulation problems, including people with diabetes.

How do warts form?

Plantar warts are caused by a virus that thrives in warm, damp environments like locker rooms and public showers. The virus can be easily transmitted from one person to another, and walking barefoot in these damp areas increases the chances of becoming infected. Warts can also be contracted by wearing shoes or socks worn by a person infected with the virus. The virus typically enters the skin through a small opening like a tiny cut or blister. Once inside the skin, the virus replicates and spreads. The wart itself represents the visible symptom of the virus, but the actual virus usually extends deep into the tissue. In order to eradicate the virus and destroy the wart, treatments must reach these deeper layers to destroy the virus roots.

How are plantar warts treated?

In mild cases, plantar warts may be treated with prescription topical medications designed to penetrate deeply into the tissue. More often, warts must be destroyed using more advanced treatment options including cryotherapy (the use of extreme cold to freeze and destroy the wart tissue) or lasers. In some cases, the wart may need to be excised (cut away). Over-the-counter preparations should not be used to treat warts since the medications they use are not strong enough to penetrate to the deeper layers of tissue where the virus is rooted. Although these preparations may appear to cause the wart to shrivel or dry up, the virus can still thrive beneath the skin and cause reinfection. For that reason, it’s very important to have a wart evaluated and treated professionally. Professional evaluation can also rule out other issues like skin cancer.


Please note that this is not a complete list of our contracted insurance carriers. If your provider is not listed, please contact us. We also encourage you to contact your insurance carrier to confirm coverage.

Blue Cross Blue Shield
Blue Shield of California
Federal Blue Cross Blue Shield
United Healthcare

Words from our patients

  • Yelp

    "Wonderful doctor, very knowledgeable and passionate about his field...personally, i think the world could use more doctors like doctor Stern"

    Josie M.
  • Yelp

    "Doctor Stern takes his time with his clients and is a pleasure to see. I have recommended him to a number of my family and friends"

    Vahid r.
  • Yelp

    "Dr. Stern is an amazing podiatrist and if you are having foot trouble, he's the guy you should see."

    Jeffrey S.
  • Yelp

    "Dr. Stern is an extremely knowledgeable and thoroughly attentive doctor. I've always felt taken care of, considered, and heard when at his office."

    Gerardo C.
  • Yelp

    "I would not hesitate to recommend dr. Stern to any friends who are suffering foot problems no matter where they may live in the Bay Area."

    Juan A.
  • Yelp

    "Incredible doctor who truly cares about his patients and his practice... I would highly recommend Dr Stern. He's the doctor you want to go see."

    Vivek K.
  • Yelp

    "Dr Stern is best Podiatrist in the Bay Area! he's clearly passionate about his work... Thank you Doc"

    N H.
  • Yelp

    "After his treatment, I'm now able to run farther than I ever could in my entire life, and now I'm training for a race this summer"

    Jason M.
  • Yelp

    "Dr. Stern is not only professional, but also friendly, kind hearted and very humorous. I am very grateful for Dr. Stern to bring sunshine to a 80 year old woman's life"

    Michael O.
  • Google+

    "Doctor Stern takes his time with his clients and is a pleasure to see. I have recommended him to a number of my family and friends."

    Vahid R.
  • Google+

    "Dr. Stern is extremely knowledgeable, his bedside manner is impeccable, and he takes the time to thoroughly explain all problems and solutions regarding my problems"

    Verified Patient
Joseph Stern, DPM
909 Hyde St., Suite 618
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 415-408-5631
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