Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV. They can appear on various parts of your body, each kind of wart caused by a different strain of the virus. For example, warts on the genitals are a result of a different strain of HPV than the warts that appear on your hand. When a wart appears on the bottom of your foot, it is known as a Plantar Wart. When it comes to a treatment plan, there are several options to choose from.
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Treatment Options for Plantar Warts
HPV enters the body through tiny openings in the skin. The virus then settles in the epithelial skin cells (the upper most layers), and replicates until it grows out the skin as a wart. A Plantar Wart is defined as a wart that appears on the bottom of your foot. Because there is so much pressure applied to as you walk, they are flat and might be larger than a wart you find elsewhere on the body.
Other characteristics of a Plantar Wart are:
- Flesh colored (although it is possible for them to be pink or brown).
- Tender while walking (although this is not always the case).
Once you know exactly what you’re dealing with, the next question is how you’re going to stop it. Intervention isn’t always essential, as Plantar Warts caused by HPV will go away on their own over time. But it can take anywhere from months, to years, which most people don’t want to endure.
There are several treatment options when it comes to a wart on your foot that will be explained in more detail.
These Plantar Wart remedies include:
- Surgical excision,
- Laser therapy.
The Best Medication for Treating Plantar Warts
If you’re wondering how to cure a Plantar Wart, let’s take a look at the options. Most often, the first defense in healing Plantar Warts is with a topical medication.
Some are used by yourself at home, and some are administered by a physician in an office setting:
- Compound W fast acting liquid: This product uses salicylic acid, a liquid that burns tissue, to kill the wart layer by layer. The lid has a brush built into it for easier application. Brush the liquid onto the wart’s surface (avoiding contact with your normal skin tissue), and let dry before touching again. You can apply twice daily, and results are usually seen within 1-3 weeks, depending on the Plantar Wart’s size and response to treatment.
- Dr.Scholl’s Clear Away Plantar Wart Pads: These bandage pads have salicylic acid infused into them to deliver a constant supply of the medication to the wart. The thick cushioning of the pad also helps against any discomfort you may feel from the wart while walking.
Compound W Plantar Freeze Off: This system can be used at home to freeze a Plantar Wart. A cotton swab is included in the kit to help administer the freezing agent. Depending on the size of the wart, it may take more than one treatment. This is a milder version of Cryotherapy, which is discussed below.Warning
Always take caution when handling liquid nitrogen, which is the freezing component in at-home freezing systems. The extremely low temperature damages and destroys living tissue, and it can be easy to kill the healthy skin surrounding your Plantar Wart. Damage to the healthy skin can sometimes include scarring and nerve damage.
- Trichloroacetic acid: This acid is extremely harmful to living tissue and is only administered by a physician. In an office setting, your doctor will use an applicator to spread the acid onto your Plantar Wart, taking care not to touch any areas of normal skin around the growth. Results vary but can take 1-3 weeks. Sometimes more than one application is necessary.
Top products for pain relief
Although Plantar Warts themselves don’t normally cause pain, they can still be uncomfortable at times. Because of their location on the heel and ball of your foot (and sometimes underneath toes), a lot of pressure is put on them every time you take a step, easily making them uncomfortable to walk on.
Steps you can take to relieve any pain caused by a Plantar Wart:
- Treat the wart. Use one of the mentioned treatment options to kill and get rid of the wart for good.
- Use cushioned bandages. There are several options when it comes to Plantar Wart treatment that involve bandages that are cushioned. You’ll still be able to feel the bandage there, but pressure will be taken off of the wart itself, easing the pain you may feel.
- Medication. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil), or another pain reliever can help take away the pain caused by Plantar Warts.
Other Ways to Get Rid of Plantar Warts
You may try over the counter wart remedies that don’t work, or you may just want to skip those altogether and go straight to more aggressive options.
Fortunately, there are several to choose from:
- Cryotherapy: With cryotherapy, a doctor will use liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart tissue. Liquid nitrogen has a boiling point of -320.4 degrees Fahrenheit. When the liquid is applied to the wart, it damages the tissue, then boils off immediately after. Your physician will apply a continuous stream of the nitrogen until several layers of wart tissue have been damaged. It may take more than one treatment to fully kill your Plantar Wart, depending on its size and how deep it goes.
Surgical excision: The fastest way to rid a Plantar Wart from your body is through surgical removal. It will be done in an office setting, and your doctor will use some kind of sharp tool such as a scalpel or other type of razor. First, they will numb the area of your foot immediately surrounding the wart. Next, it will be disinfected, and then your doctor will cut the wart out of your skin. Most often, a deep hole is left behind, since Plantar Warts go down pretty far into the layers of skin. But don’t worry, your body will heal it up with normal skin tissue.Information
A fairly deep amount of tissue has to be taken out during the surgical excision of a Plantar Wart. The reason for this has to do with HPV itself. The virus sits under the skin and replicates upward until breaking through the skin as a wart. If you just destroy the top layer of the wart, the virus will still be there deeper underneath the skin layers, replicating more until appearing through the skin as a wart again. Cutting down through the skin layers where HPV is resting will ensure that all viral particles are taken out, and the Plantar Wart doesn’t return.
Wondering how to cut out a plantar wart? Go here for more details.
- Laser therapy: With laser therapy, a super-heated beam is used to destroy the wart tissue using heat. This is done in an office setting. Your doctor will numb and clean the skin surrounding the Plantar Wart, then aim the laser directly at it and carefully heat the tissue up until it’s killed. It may take more than one visit to completely rid your body of the wart.
- Duct tape: Although it’s not medication or a procedure, duct tape has been a proven method of destroying a Plantar Wart. A wart needs oxygen to be able to survive, and duct tape creates such a tight seal that it blocks off the wart’s air supply, slowly suffocating it. Cut a small square of duct tape and stick it tightly on top of your Plantar Wart. Leave it in place for 3 days, then take off and let breath for a few hours, then apply a new layer of tape. Results are usually seen within a week, with wart death taking place around two weeks.
Something you can do to help speed along the destruction of a Plantar Wart is sloughing. Soak your foot in warm water for ten minutes, then use a nail file and gently scrape off the upper layers of the wart’s tissue. You can do this before applying topical medication, and before each new layer of duct tape. The warm water softens the wart tissue, while the nail file sloughs off as many layers of it as it can.
The next time you think you may have a wart on your foot, make sure that you take the steps necessary to determine if it is indeed a Plantar Wart, then decide on appropriate treatment, whichever that might be for you. Remember, with all of the options available, getting rid of a wart can be an easy thing to do.