Plantar warts are a common occurrence and they result from a viral infection in the skin, caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) (1, 2). The HPV virus enters the skin through a wound or cut. While plantar warts can occur anywhere on the body, they are most common on the soles of your feet (3). Plantar warts can be painful and they often result in a raised bump, which causes a lot of discomfort. Plantar warts also have tiny black spots on them, known as ‘wart seeds,’ which serve as blood vessels (4).
While plantar warts are not necessarily harmful, they can continue to grow and it can eventually become uncomfortable to walk or stand on your feet. It is possible to treat plantar warts at home, but at the same time, you need to be aware of when to consult a doctor for further treatment. Let us take a look at how to treat plantar warts naturally.
Treating Plantar Warts Naturally
Plantar warts are not dangerous, but they can cause a lot of discomfort and make it difficult for you to walk and stand as they grow. Many people also want to have plantar warts removed due to aesthetic reasons. Any removal plans for plantar warts take a couple of weeks, sometimes even longer. By using these remedies, you can try to remove plantar warts at home itself. However, you must know when you need to consult a doctor and ultimately complete removal of plantar warts can only be done by a doctor or surgeon.
Duct Tape for Removing Plantar Warts Naturally (4)
As surprising as it may seem, duct tape is actually a good home remedy to help you get rid of plantar warts in a natural way. Duct tape will help you get rid of the plantar wart gradually. You start by sticking a small piece of duct tape to the affected region. Change the tape at least two times a day. For warts at the bottom of your feet, you may need to change the duct tape more often for removal of plantar warts.
The idea behind how duct tape gets rid of plantar warts is by gradually ‘peeling away’ at the layers of warts it get rids of the plantar warts naturally. It is believed that eventually, the wart will peel away completely with the use of duct tape.
Remove Plantar Warts Naturally with Apple Cider Vinegar (5)
Apple cider vinegar is used for treating many types of health conditions and has been widely studied for its many medicinal properties, one of which is wart removal. A study done by the Arizona State University in 2006 found that the anti-infective or antimicrobial properties of apple cider vinegar can help in reducing the growth of plantar warts. However, more research is still needed to support this claim (5).
If you want to use apple cider vinegar to remove plantar warts, then apply the vinegar with a cotton ball on to the affected part twice a day. If the warts are at the bottom of your foot, then you can apply it three to four times a day.
Tea Tree Oil: A Natural Remedy to Remove Plantar Warts
Tea tree oil is known for its antimicrobial properties and has been used as a topical antiseptic for many years now (6). While tea tree oil is primarily used for fungal infections, acne and other wounds, the properties of the tea tree oil in removing plantar warts has not been studied widely (6). However, it is still believed that tea tree oil should also work for removing or reducing plantar warts.
To use tea tree oil for removing plantar warts, apply a small amount of the oil and dilute it in either olive oil or almond oil. Apply this mixture with a cotton ball to the affected area twice every day or if the wart is at the bottom of your feet, you may need to apply it more times.
Salicylic Acid to Remove Plantar Warts (4)
Salicylic acid is a form of beta hydroxy acid, which is typically used in the treatment of acne. Salicylic acid works by removing dead skin cells, which often clog the pores, causing plantar warts and other skin infections to occur.
Over-the-counter (OTC) wart creams and ointments have been observed to contain a high concentration of salicylic acid. These creams and ointments also work by shedding the skin around the plantar wart slowly over a period of time, eventually clearing up the area completely.
If you want to efficiently use salicylic acid for treating plantar warts, you will need to apply the product containing salicylic acid on warts two times every day. It will also help if you prepare the skin by soaking the affected part in lukewarm water for at least 10 minutes every day before applying the acid. This will allow the acid to work more effectively in getting rid of plantar warts naturally.
However, keep in mind that it will still take a couple of weeks for plantar warts to go away completely.
Iodine to Treat Plantar Warts (7)
Iodine is generally associated with thyroid health and is an essential mineral that is required by the body (8). However, certain formulations of iodine can be used for other medical purposes as well, such as wart removal.
A study done by the Bryn Mawr Skin and Cancer Institute in Pennsylvania found that using a combination product of iodine and povidone topical solution helps in clearing up warts during a course of 12 weeks, by applying the solution twice a day. It is possible to buy both these products from any local drug store.
However, doctors and researchers still are of the opinion that this iodine treatment works best when done under the supervision of a doctor, especially if you already have an underlying health condition like thyroid disease.
Milk Thistle: A Herbal Remedy to Treat Plantar Warts (9)
Milk thistle is also another herbal remedy that is used for clearing up many types of skin conditions. Milk thistle has been researched and studied by many experts for its antiviral properties. Applying diluted milk thistle extract to plantar warts two times a day will help remove warts. However, if you suffer from ragweed allergies, then milk thistle is not for you.
Treat Plantar Warts with Freezing Sprays (4)
There are many types of OTC freezing sprays that are available at drugstores for removing plantar warts. These sprays contain liquid nitrogen and have been designed to mimic cryotherapy. These freezing sprays work by producing a blister-like injury that then sticks to the plantar wart. When this blister heals, the wart also goes away with it.
If you want to use freezing sprays for removing plantar warts, then spray the product directly onto the plantar wart for 20 seconds. You can repeat the procedure if required. You will notice the formation of the blister. The blister will fall off on its own within a week or two. In most cases, the wart also goes away with the blister. However, if you notice that the wart is still there, then you can consider repeating the treatment once again.
It may require you to repeat this process many times for up to six or seven weeks.
Are There Any Risk Factors Associated With Plantar Warts?
You are at a higher risk of getting plantar warts due to the below-mentioned risk factors:
- If you are a teenager or a child.
- If you have a history of getting plantar warts.
- If you have a weak immune system.
- If you frequently walk barefoot, particularly in germ-infested areas.
How to Prevent Plantar Warts?
It is possible to prevent plantar warts, even if you are prone to developing them, by following certain precautions. These include:
- Avoid touching any warts, even if they are your own.
- Do not pick at a plantar wart.
- If you touch a wart, wash your hands before and after touching it.
- Avoid using pumice stones or files that you are using on the affected part of the skin and then use them on non-affected parts of the skin (4).
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places.
- Change your shoes and socks frequently (4).
- Keep your feet clean and dry, making sure to clean between the toes (4).
Plantar warts may go away on their own over a period of time. However, if you want to treat them, then it is possible to treat them at home.
However, if you are in doubt or if you are experiencing severe discomfort due to warts, then it is better to consult a doctor before the plantar wart worsens and starts to affect your day-to-day mobility and chores.