Because of their location, plantar warts can be extremely painful and difficult to cope with. Also, leaving plantar warts untreated may lead them to increase in size or to spread into a cluster of warts [source: Cooper].
The simplest in-home remedy for plantar warts is known as hyperthermic treatment, which involves soaking the affected foot in hot water for 90 minutes each day. It sounds easy, but the treatment requires lots of patience -- you may not see results for months. You can also apply the liquid from a capsule of vitamin A to the wart daily, which may eradicate it within one to nine months [source: Cooper]. Salicylic acid treatments available over-the-counter in the form of liquids, gels, pads or ointments also can help eradicate warts. Make sure that you periodically file the wart down and consistently clean your foot as you use these remedies. However, if you don't see improvement within one to two weeks, consult your doctor [source: Cooper].
The quickest way to kill a wart is to visit your doctor for treatment. The most common cure is cryotherapy, or freezing the wart with sodium nitride. This kills the virus that causes the wart; the wart itself will fall off in a few days. Laser treatment also kills this virus, but it's an expensive option that isn't widely used for plantar warts. Your doctor also may use a stronger acid to burn off the wart or a procedure called debridement that cuts the wart off your foot while you're under anesthesia. The latter treatment is a somewhat unappealing option because warts may regrow in the resulting scar tissue and worsen foot pain [source: Cooper]. Your doctor can provide details about the procedures he or she uses for plantar wart removal.
Plantar warts are a painful inconvenience, but appropriate treatment will put the spring back in your step in no time. For more information on plantar wart prevention and remedies, take a look at the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Podiatric Medical Association. "Warts." (Accessed 8/5/09)http://www.apma.org/topics/Warts.htm
- Cooper, Jeffrey S. "Plantar Warts." eMedicineHealth. (Accessed 8/5/09)http://www.emedicinehealth.com/plantar_wart/article_em.htm#Plantar%20Warts%20Overview
- Ellin, Abby. "Communal Yoga Mats: Beware of Germs." The New York Times. 7/27/06. (Accessed 8/5/09) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/27/fashion/27Fitness.html?_r=1&scp=6&sq=plantar+warts&st=nyt
- The Mayo Clinic. "Plantar Warts." 5/02/09. (Accessed 8/5/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/plantar-warts/DS00509
- MedlinePlus. "Warts." 5/12/09. (Accessed 8/5/09) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/warts.html
- PDRhealth. "Plantar Wart." (Accessed 8/5/09)http://www.pdrhealth.com/disease/disease-mono.aspx?contentFileName=ND1205G.xml&contentName=PLANTAR+WART&contentId=970&TypeId=2
- Podiatry Channel. "Plantar Warts: Plantar Wart Prevention." 5/14/09. (Accessed 8/5/09) http://www.podiatrychannel.com/plantarwarts/prevention.shtml
- Shenefelt, Philip D. "Warts, Nongenital." eMedicine. 5/5/09. (Accessed 8/5/09) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1133317-overview
- VisualDXHealth. "Plantar Wart in Adults." 12/22/08. (Accessed 8/5/09) http://www.visualdxhealth.com/adult/plantarWart.htm