Infected warts

Warts are caused by viral infections, though they sometimes are accompanied by pus and blood, which is caused by bacteria. Treating a wart with pus usually involves the use of topical or oral antibiotics, and occasionally, your GP will recommend a combination of both.

Warts containing pus are highly contagious, and the infection can easily spread to other people and to different parts of the body. Also call the GP if a wart or the skin around it is:

  • Painful
  • Red
  • Bleeding
  • Swollen
  • Oozing pus


Hot compresses should be applied to a wart with pus to facilitate healing and to promote the drainage of pus. A wart with pus should never be lanced at home in an attempt to drain the pus, because this could worsen the infection and cause it to spread. A hot compress can be applied several times a day, however, a clean compress should be used each time to avoid reintroducing bacteria to the area. Symptoms of a wart with pus can also include inflammation at the site, redness, pain, and an increase in temperature over the area. Fever, chills, and body aches can also occur if the infection becomes systemic.

The colour of pus can vary and can range from a light straw colour to dark brown, or even black. Red or pink pus is caused by the combination of blood and pus, however, this does not indicate a more serious infection than pus without blood. Also, pus can be watery in consistency, or thick and sticky. Again, the consistency or amount of pus is not a reflection of the seriousness or type of infection.

If a wart with pus begins to drain on its own, the area should be gently washed with mild soap and warm water. An over-the-counter antibacterial ointment can then be applied, and the area should be covered with a sterile bandage. If the wart continues to drain pus, it should be kept covered to avoid spreading the infection, and you should notify your GP.

Painful verruca

Verrucas are plantar warts found particularly over the pressure areas of the feet (heel and ball). They may cause pain, particularly with walking. Occasionally leg or back pain may result from altered posture or gait disturbance. A wart on the sole of the foot is more likely to cause discomfort than warts in other areas such as the hands. Pain is reason to consider treatment. If you have a plantar wart and also have diabetes or another medical condition that makes you prone to infections or slow to heal, see your doctor. A plantar wart can get infected. In people with diabetes, foot infections do not heal easily.