Plantar warts; those small, hard balls that develop on the heel or ball of your foot can drive you crazy at times. Plantar warts are believed to affect everyone at some point in their life.
Are they dangerous and should you be concerned? The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean you should suffer. Today we’re going to look at how to get rid of plantar warts. In fact, there are many home remedies for plantar warts.
It is important to understand the difference between a corn and a plantar wart. A corn is a build-up of hard, thickened skin on the top of a toe or between the toes. A plantar wart can be found on the ball or heel of the foot and appears as a small, pale-colored growth, also hard. There also is a black dot in the middle of the wart, which is a blood vessel that has grown up into the location.
Causes and Symptoms of Plantar Warts
There is no significant health concern with a plantar wart. It is a noncancerous growth caused by one of the human papillomavirus, or HPV strains, not to be confused with the specific HPV strain that causes genital herpes. There are more than 100 types of HPV, with only a few affecting the foot area.
The plantar wart virus is not highly contagious. Everyone has a different reaction to the strain, if they have any at all. The virus that causes plantar warts can be found in warm, moist areas such as swimming pools and locker rooms. It enters the body through tiny nicks and scratches on the bottom of the feet.
The size of a pencil eraser, a plantar wart can increase in size. If several of the growths appear in a cluster, they are known as mosaic warts. A plantar wart may cause discomfort and mild pain.
How do you know if you have a plantar wart? Here’s what to look for:
- A small, rough, lesion on the bottom of your foot
- A hard, thickened callus on a well-defined location, indicating that a wart has grown inward
- Black dotted bumps (the black part is a blood vessel clot)
- Pain or discomfort when you place pressure on the bump
- A smooth gray-yellow or brown area
Those most at risk for contracting the virus that causes plantar warts are participants in bare-foot activities, such as yoga, martial arts, and swimming. The usual cases involve children, teenagers, and individuals with low immune system function, a history of plantar warts, or using public showers bare-foot.
What Are Palmer Warts?
Are palmer warts and plantar warts the same thing? Yes…and no. They are essentially the same as plantar warts, except that palmer warts occur on the hands and fingers rather than the feet. What causes palmer warts? The same types of HPV as with plantar warts. For palmer wart treatments, see the section below on home remedies for plantar warts; you can use the same types of remedies, but just targeted at your hands instead of your feet.
9 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Plantar Warts
While there is no major health concern with plantar warts, they can be painful and embarrassing to some. Not to mention the fact that they are contagious. Most of the time, plantar warts do not need any treatment, as they will disappear on their own (you just need to make sure you do not pass them on in the meantime).
However, there are some natural remedies to rid of plantar warts that you can practice in the privacy and comfort of your home.
1. Aloe Vera Gel
A household staple, aloe vera gel applied in heavy doses to the plantar wart will dry it out and make it disappear. Use several times a day and cover with a bandage.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
This remedy is a favorite among sufferers. Apply a cotton ball soaked in apple cider vinegar to the wart. Cover it with duct tape. Replace the cotton ball and duct tape every few days, soaking the foot in warm water before every new taping.
3. Duct Tape
It’s true what people say about duct tape: it can fix almost anything. In fact, many people use it as a home remedy for plantar warts. Soak your foot in warm water before covering the wart with a clean piece of duct tape. Repeat this every day for six days, removing the old piece of duct tape first. After six days, rub the wart. After that, leave it untreated for 12 hours before starting the process again. Continue with this treatment for a few months.
Place a slice of fresh garlic directly on the plantar wart and cover it with a bandage. Within a month, the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory components of the garlic should remove it.
5. Homeopathic and Over-the-Counter Remedies
There are over-the-counter pads, creams, and gels that you can get for wart removal. Some of these products require special care when using, so read all materials included with the product. But if you want to go the more natural route, consider homeopathic remedies. Here are a few of the options available for homeopathy:
- Natrum muriaticum
- Nitricum acidum
- Thuja occidentalis
6. Lemon Essential Oil
Apply a few drops of lemon oil to the plantar wart over a period of a few days.
If you can stand the smell of onions, an easy method is to apply the juice from a crushed onion directly to the plantar wart.
8. Potato Skin
By rubbing the inner part of a potato skin on the wart two times each day, the plantar wart should fall off within a two-week period.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Use this oil on plantar warts. Apply it directly and frequently to the problem area.
Can Plantar Warts or Palmer Warts Be Prevented?
Unfortunately, there is no fool-proof way to prevent plantar warts (or palmer warts). As the virus exists in warm and humid areas, there are ways to reduce the risk.
- Always wear footwear in public locker rooms, pool or hot tub areas, and showers and wash your hands well after touching suspect surfaces
- Avoid direct contact with warts
- Do not share clothing, yoga mats, or towels with an affected person
- Check feet and toes daily (and hands!)
- Always change socks daily
- Keep feet and hands clean and dry
When Should You Seek Medical Help for Plantar Warts?
If trying various remedies at home doesn’t lessen or remove the wart, seek advice from your doctor.
What may appear as a plantar wart may actually be a corn, callus, mole, or a more serious skin lesion.
Many bumps and sores on our feet do not pose a serious health concern; however, there are a few that do require medical treatment. Rare carcinoma and melanoma lesions are malignant and can be mistaken for warts.
It is important to seek medical help when:
- You’re experiencing a painful or burning sensation from a lesion
- You have redness, swelling, or bleeding from a lesion
- A home remedy trial does not work
- You desire to have warts removed by burning or freezing
- More warts appear after home treatment
- You also have diabetes
- Tips for Skin Cancer Prevention and Protection from UV Radiation
- Top 4 Foods to Eat for Optimum Health
- Lump on Back of Neck: 5 Causes and Natural Treatments
“Plantar Warts,” Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-warts/basics/definition/con-20025706, last accessed February 1, 2017.
“11 Home Remedies for Plantar Warts That Work Wonders,” Home Remedy Shop, November 20, 2013; http://homeremedyshop.com/11-home-remedies-for-plantar-warts-that-work-wonder/, last accessed February 1, 2017.
“Plantar Warts,” Cleveland Clinic; http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/plantar-warts, last accessed February 1, 2017.
“Plantar Warts,” eMedicine Health; http://www.emedicinehealth.com/plantar_warts/page4_em.htm, last accessed February 1, 2017.