Digging Out Plantar Warts

Frustrated with persistent plantar warts? Effective ways to treat warts at home.

Is a wart a virus?

Everyone must confess that they have had an embarrassing wart at least once in their life. It is also widely known how difficult these persistent lesions can be to treat. It's a virus that causes warts is a strain of the Human Papilloma Virus, of which there are over 100 types. Common warts are typically found on the hands and legs. Plantar warts are located on the bottom of the feet. While many people seek further assessment by their primary healthcare provider or request a costly referral to a dermatologist, there are a number of home treatments that can be tried before requiring professional help.

Digging out plantar warts

Over-the-counter salicylic acid, which is available as a gel, paste or bandage form, can be an effective treatment if used properly. Proper usage includes regular application as per manufacturer directions versus a one-time application. Warts can take several weeks to several months to resolve with regular and persistent treatment. Before applying treatment, a pre-treatment with a pumice stone or emery board to peel away the uppermost layers can be helpful for the salicylic acid to make contact with the lower layers.

Home remedy for plantar warts

Another home treatment option is duct tape. The theory is that it will moisten the skin underneath so that the wart can be peeled away with each removal of duct tape. The risk associated with this is that the surrounding skin can become moist and peel away as well.

Over-the-counter wart treatment

Newer on the market is an over-the-counter freezing agent that contains dimethyl ether and propane. This is applied to the lesion for several seconds, but again, may take several applications over the course of several weeks to see results. The risks involved here are potential discomfort, redness and blistering from the freezing treatment.

If these treatment options have not resolved the persistent lesion, then it may be time to visit the doctor's office, where a stronger type of cryotherapy can be applied using liquid nitrogen. While using the same principle of the freezing technique, it is a stronger liquid and often requires less treatment. Alternating home-based treatments with office-based treatments can allow for the continuity of treatments required to finally resolve the virus.

Additional options through a medical practitioner may include application of a canthardin, a substance that comes from the canthardin beetle juice.  The canthardin causes a blister; when the blister resolves, it pulls the wart off of it with it. This may cause pain and redness to the surrounding skin.

Are warts contagious?

Naturally, what would be better that treating warts would be preventing them from occurring altogether. This, however, is a tall order given that they are highly contagious nature of warts. The virus is spread easily at swimming pools, through shared towels, and from direct skin-to-skin contact such as shaking or holding hands. Once a wart is present, avoid touching the area and then touching another part of the body, and ensure excellent hand washing if exposure does take place. Treating warts at their onset, before they grow large and firm, is the ideal way to conquering them.

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Last Reviewed:
June 01, 2017
Last Updated:
June 03, 2017