Plantar warts are tiny growths that develops on the bottom of the feet, which is called the plantar side. Most common in children, teens, and elderly, the warts are the result of direct contact with the human papilloma virus and are often characterized by thickened skin, soreness, and tiny black dots. Plantar warts develop deep in the skin and often clear up without treatment after the virus dies after months or years. However, since the warts cause discomfort when walking and standing, treatment is often sought. Plantar warts treatments vary depending on a person’s immune system and include home methods, acid, freezing, and laser therapy.
One of the most common plantar warts treatments that can be done at home is the removal of the tough layer of skin through non-traumatic methods. This can be accomplished by rubbing the affected areas of the feet with a pumice stone. Prior to using a pumice stone, the feet are typically soaked in water for about 20 minutes to help soften growths.
Other plantar warts treatments that can be done at home include the use of duct tape, which is applied over the growths. The warts are covered with tape for 24 hours a day for six out of seven days. This method is done for six weeks. Duct tape, or a waterproof adhesive, helps to dry out the growth and keeps the warts free from moisture, which is needed for growth. On days when the feet are not covered with duct tape, an individual can soak his feet and then use a pumice stone or emery board to remove affected areas of skin.
Individuals may also seek plantar warts treatments from a doctor. Medical treatment often involves the removal of the skin growth. One common medical treatment includes the use of a mild acid that is applied to the affected areas. Salicylic, cantharidin, and dicholoacetic acids are commonly used as treatment. With this form of treatment, the acid must be applied over several weeks.
Cryosurgery is another common medical treatment for plantar warts. With this method, warts are frozen using liquid nitrogen, sodium nitride, or other cold solutions. After being frozen, the warts become black and gradually come off within a few days. Cryosurgery typically does not leave any scars.
Plantar warts treatments may also include laser treatment performed at a medical facility. Laser treatment involves the use of local anesthesia. This method often requires several treatments over one month. Laser treatment is often expensive and agonizing and is often used as a last resort.