Plantar warts are small lesions that appear on the bottom of the foot or sole and are caused by a virus, known as human papillomavirus (HPV). The same virus is responsible for causing genital warts, cervical cancer and also oral and genital carcinoma. Plantar wart is the result of direct contact with this virus that enters through any opening like small cuts, cracks or any other types of skin abrasions.
Treatment Options for Plantar Warts
Getting rid of plantar warts permanently can be a little difficult, though not impossible. Most of the common treatments have been able to provide a temporary solution to this problem. Plantar wart removal is often time-consuming and needs lots of patience, as the problem resurfaces after subsiding for sometime even with proper treatment.
» Use a pumice stone or nail/foot file to remove the dead skin around the wart. Soak your feet in warm water for sometime to soften the skin and then rub the area with the file or pumice stone. Doing this prior to following the methods listed below will speed up the time taken for the warts to disappear.
» The usual method for getting rid of plantar warts is to apply acid on them. Salicylic acid is most commonly used for this purpose. Daily application of salicylic acid for at least four weeks can be beneficial in removing these painful warts. Salicylic acid can be applied on the affected area either as a patch or as a solution. However, make sure that it does not come in contact with the surrounding healthy skin, as it can cause skin irritation.
» A natural way of removing plantar warts is the application of papaya, pineapple and banana peel on the affected area. The enzymes found in these fruits help to dissolve warts without any side effects.
» Mix aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, castor oil and baking soda and apply this paste on the affected area with a cotton ball. Leave it on for half an hour, and then wash off your feet. Repeat it everyday till the warts are gone.
» You can also try using aspirin for treating plantar warts. Dissolve a tablet in water and apply this solution over the warts. Cover the affected area with a Band Aid and repeat the procedure till the skin is healed.
» Another way of getting rid of plantar warts is to apply duct tape on it. What you need to do is to apply a piece of duct tape on the affected area and keep it there for at least five to six days. After six days, remove it and then wash the area properly. Then, rub off the dead skin by using a pumice stone or nail file and again apply the duct tape. In this way, continue for few weeks, as it usually takes a minimum of six weeks to completely remove the warts.
Plantar warts usually appear as rounded protuberances with a black core. Sometimes, the warts may look flat, but may grow inwards leaving the surface to looking even and flat. The chances of getting infected by HPV increase if you walk barefoot on damp and moist surfaces like public showers, swimming pools and locker rooms. Plantar warts are contagious and so, sharing shoes and socks with others can spread it from one individual to another. Besides following precautionary measures, the affected individual can also undergo surgery for getting rid of these warts.
Laser surgery: In this surgery, laser beams are used for burning the wart, but the process can result in scarring of the skin.
Cryotherapy: In cryotherapy, liquid nitrogen is used to kill the virus by freezing the wart. The process has shown limited success, as it cannot kill the virus if it moves into the deeper layers of the skin.
Immunotherapy: This procedure concentrates on stimulating the immune system of an individual to fight against the virus and it is done by injecting an antigen into the wart.
Electrosurgery/Electrodesiccation: It involves using electric current to burn off the wart. The burned area is then surgically removed using a knife called curette in a process known as curettage. This procedure may leave scars on skin.
Keratolytic therapy: In this therapy, salicylic acid is injected into the warts, making the skin in and around the warts thinner till it is eventually shed off.
Diabetic patients, and those who suffer from any circulatory problems should consult a doctor before trying any remedy or undergoing any procedure for plantar wart removal. If plantar warts are spreading and infecting the surrounding areas of the skin, even after taking sufficient care and protection, then consult your physician. Multiple sessions may be required as removal of plantar warts may not be possible in the first attempt. It is recommended that you seek professional medical advice to get rid of plantar warts, as in many instances these warts look similar to calluses and corns.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.