It is likely that you will get plantar warts at least once in your life time. These are a type of warts that appear on the feet. They are related to another type of warts known as palmer warts, which appear on the hands.
HPV virus is the virus behind occurrence of warts. However, the particular type of HPV virus that causes genital warts is different from the one responsible for plantar warts.
Calluses are easily taken for plantar warts and vice versa. They are not the same however. Although warts are contagious, they are not spread through wart seeds as some people would have it. The black dots that develop on warts are actually tiny vessels of blood. Due to pressure applied on them when walking, plantar warts are bound to acquire a flattened appearance. You are advised to see a doctor if you have doubts about which type of skin lesion you are dealing with.
What causes plantar warts and their symptoms?
What causes plantar warts? Three main strains of the human papillomavirus are known to cause this type of warts. They are spread after bare skin comes into contact with an infected area. Naturally, the body’s immune system will fight off the virus and prevent it from developing any further. In cases that this fails, the warts will develop.
So far, a vaccine against plantar warts has not been developed, unlike the case with genital warts. They can however be treated in a clinic or at home with particular home remedies.
Children below the age of 16 years and above the age of 12 years are most affected. They also can occur in older people but not frequently. Predisposing factors include:
- Weak immunity – The immune system is supposed to fight off any invasion by HPV virus. In children with weakened immunity resulting from one reason or another, the chances of getting infected with plantar warts are heightened.
- Communal places– If an infected child for example touches a certain area in a playground or in a shared shower, they are bound to spread the virus to other children who have skin contact with the infected areas.
- Skin traumas – Injuries on the skin caused by certain illnesses, cuts and other forms of injuries will act as entry points for the HPV virus.
- Painful thickened areas on the foot
- Tight lesions with black spots
- Smooth parts of the foot that may be yellow, brown or grayish in color
- Crowded firm lesions which are known as mosaic warts
Plantar warts prefer parts of the feet where most pressure in usually exerted. For this reason, they tend to be flat in shape due to constant pressure applied on them when walking.
Home remedies for plantar warts removal
Plantar wart home remedy removal options are numerous. You can choose any one of them depending on the mildness of the wart or the availability of the needed equipment. It is good to note that warts will almost certainly go away on their own. The problem is that this may even take up to months or years. Although they are harmless and non-cancerous, warts can be discomforting and bring about self-confidence issues. Here are the available plantar wart home remedy removal options:
OTC treatment kits
There are a couple of OTC kits that you can use to get rid of plantar warts at home. They work best for small warts which may not have turned black. Most of them make use of a type of acid known as salicylic acid. Depending on the kit, lactic acid can also be included.
Compound W is a good example. Others include Wart-Off and Freezone. The basic idea is to get rid of the outer part of the wart (keratin). This will continuously wear off the whole wart.
Ensure that the specific guidelines provided on how to use the particular wart removal kit that you have chosen are followed. Additionally, you are not recommended to use salicylic acid in infants for a prolonged duration of time.
Surgery is best done in a clinic. However, you can do a minor one at home. The outer part of a wart is usually not painful. Therefore, you can cut it with a sharp blade and apply a bandage on it.
It works by burning the wart off layer by layer. It is important to note that apple cider vinegar will have the same burning effect on healthy bare skin. If you are to use it, ensure that it has been applied only on the wart to be removed. You can get more information on how to remove a wart with apple cider vinegar online.
Ripe banana peels are perhaps the most effective yet inexpensive plantar warts removal home remedies. All it requires is a small portion of ripe banana peel to be placed on top of the wart. If you have access to tea tree oil, apply it to the peel to avoid contamination.
Don’t use green banana peels. In fact, bananas which have ripened to the extent of being brown are best.
Some people are flexible enough to use super glue for wart removal. I do not recommend this option however. The idea behind it is that super glue will peel a wart gradually and leave no scar afterwards.
Yes, you heard that right. It is said that urine can actually treat plantar warts. The science behind it is simple. Urine is acidic in nature. If it is to be applied constantly on a wart, the same will peel off layer by layer.
Duct tape is a common plantar warts home remedy. You can buy it in a local health store. Just cover the wart with for about a week. After that, remove the tape and soak the feet in water for about 20 minutes. Using a pumice stone, debride the wart a couple of times per day, until the wart is completely gone.
Clinical plantar wart treatment and surgery
With warts occurring in clusters (mosaic warts); the best approach is to have them treated by a doctor. Plantar wart treatment in a clinic can be done through the following options:
Commonly referred to as cryotherapy, this form of plantar wart treatment method involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen. The method can be uncomfortable and in some cases painful. Your doctor will take you through the process and administer an anesthesia if necessary.
A minor surgery can be performed on the wart to remove it completely. An electric needle will be used for the surgery. It is not a common plantar wart removal procedure and is usually painful. It also is likely to cause scarring. Again, you will have your doctor talk you through the procedure, to address any concerns you might have.
Salicylic acid is most commonly used for plantar wart removal. The acid works by peeling off the layers of the wart gradually. It can also stimulate the body’s immune system to fight off the HPV virus responsible for plantar warts.
Your doctor may choose a different type of acid for plantar wart removal. It is important that you specifically get prescribed for and treated by a doctor. Use of acid for warts removal causes burning effect and can also burn other parts of the body not intended.
In this plantar wart treatment method, a pulsed dye is used to kill the tiny blood vessels that cluster and may have turned black in a wart. It will require you to visit a clinic several times to get the whole wart cleared. Additionally, this treatment method is painful and can leave a scar on the treated part of the skin.
There are no specific oral tablets of any other form of medication that can specifically be used as a medicine to cure plantar warts. However, oral medicine can be taken to boost immunity. The medicine can also be injected or applied externally on the infected part.
Which is the best way to get rid of plantar warts?
Now that we have discussed the various options there are on how to get rid of plantar warts, which one of them is the best?
Well, it will always depend on the situation and individual circumstances to decide what will work best for you. For example, small warts can be removed with home remedies effectively enough. In fact, you can leave them be if they are not causing discomfort or pain.
For persistent/clustered warts and ones with painful black dots, it will be for the best if they get treated in a hospital. The problem is that most of the available clinical warts removal methods are bound to cause scarring.
In case you or your child has a wart and requires removal services, visit a clinic and you will be advised on how to get rid of it. This is helpful if you are to open to or not familiar with the use of home remedies. For bleeding warts, red/swollen ones and large indistinguishable warts, avoid home remedies and treatment. This also includes warts that persist or reappear even after treatment.
Generally, burning and freezing off warts are the best way to remove warts. All the same, it will depend on your preferences and what your doctor advises.
Plantar warts removal at home through prevention
Here are some of the ways you can get rid of plantar warts through prevention. They include:
- Avoid damp feet
- Maintain feet hygiene, especially by changing socks daily and washing your legs
- Avoid walking barefooted especially in shared/public showers
- Ensure to check your children for any symptoms of plantar warts
- Avoid shared shoes and socks
- Cover injured parts of the feet. This may apply but not necessarily to injuries caused by open razor bumps.
- Get professional advice on skin growths and lesions that won’t go away or keep increasing in size.
Plantar and warts in general are not of any health risk especially in regards to cancer. In fact, most of them will go away on their own.
It is easy to get rid of plantar warts, both with home remedies or in a clinic. The most important thing is to weigh your options and go forward with the best option open for you.