How To Treat Plantar Warts At Home
A plantar wart is one of just a few soft tissue conditions, which can be very painful. It is also very common, and can be treated at home with common household items or over-the-counter products.
Treating Plantar Warts: Causes and Symptoms
Plantar warts are caused by a virus which invades the skin through small or even invisible cuts and abrasions. It is most often contracted while walking barefoot on dirty surfaces or littered areas.
Communal bathing facilities and other warm, moist environments are also breeding grounds for the virus.
Plantar warts are found on the bottom of the feet. They tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and defined boundaries. They are often gray or brown (colors may vary) with one or more pinpoints of black. Left untreated, the warts may grow to an inch or more and may even spread into clusters (often called mosaic warts).
These warts are very resistant to treatment, and may even return after healing; but some have been known to disappear on their own. Though warts may be painful on weight-bearing areas of the feet (e.g. the ball of the foot or the heel), most warts are harmless.
Read more about warts and how to identify them here.
Plantar Wart Treatments: Home remedies
Nonprescription wart removal methods typically come as a patch or liquid. The directions usually tell patients to wash the affected area and soak it for 20 minutes. Gently remove the dead tissue with a pumice stone or emery board, then apply the solution or patch. Patches are typically changed every 48 hours, while liquid applications are applied twice a day. Results may not appear for several weeks.
You may be able to get this kind of treatment from the doctor . The doctor will trim the wart with a small knife. In rare cases, local anesthetic may be administered. Then, the doctor applies liquid nitrogen with a probe or cotton swab.
For this method, cover the wart with silver duct tape for six days, then soak the wart in water. Remove the dead tissue with a pumice stone or emery board, and leave the wart exposed for 12 hours. Repeat this process until the wart is gone. Keep in mind that this method has seen mixed results at best.
You may want to discuss these methods with your doctor first. Most over-the-counter wart treatments will contain acids or chemicals which destroy skin cells. An expert hand will be able to destroy the abnormal skin cells without harming the surrounding healthy tissues. Patients with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or circulatory disorders should avoid self-treatment entirely.
There are a few steps to take in order to prevent plantar warts from forming:
- Avoid direct contact with warts, including your own.
- Keep feet clean and dry, and change shoes and socks daily. This basic step is essential for preventing blisters and fungal infection as well.
- Wear shoes or sandals in areas where the wart virus thrives, such as communal showers, dirty areas, and swimming and pools.
- Don’t pick at the warts, as this may cause the virus to spread.
Reserve a different pumice stone or emery board for the warts, and another for healthy skin and nails.
- Use a disposable emery board to avoid spreading the virus
Wash hands thoroughly after touching a wart.
- Check children’s feet regularly.
When To See a Doctor
If you have a plantar wart and the treatments listed above haven’t been effective, you should see a doctor about other treatment options. Generally, it is always a good idea to see a doctor whenever there is a growth or eruption on the feet to ensure the correct diagnosis. Sometimes, what appears to be a wart may actually be a sign of cancer – for example, carcinoma or melanoma.
Ask the Experts
If you are concerned about a wart that won’t go away, schedule an appointment with Dr. Vikki or Dr. Connie today. For more foot care advice, contact the specialists at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center.