Plantar warts are non-cancerous growths on the soles of the feet. They are caused by human papillomavirus that enters the body through tiny cuts or scrapes of the skin. They often develop on the points of pressure, like heels and balls of the feet, and they often seem to grow inwards, towards the deeper layers of the skin, probably because of the pressure.
Plantar warts cause discomfort, especially when walking, and they can be quite painful. Fortunately, they can be removed, and treatment options include home remedies and medical treatment.
Home treatment for plantar warts
One of the best ways to remove a plantar wart is to use salicylic acid. A mixture of 40 or 60 percent salicylic acid and white paraffin should be applied directly to the wart using a cotton swab, and being careful that the acid does not touch the healthy skin. If it does, it should be rinsed. After this, the wart should be covered with a bandage and washed in the morning. It helps to soak the feet in warm water and to use a pumice stone to rub the wart before applying salicylic acid.
Some people testify that the duct tape treatment is very effective. This simple treatment involves a piece of duct tape applied over the wart to basically suffocate the virus, because it does not leave any oxygen. The duct tape should be worn constantly for six days, after which time the wart is soaked in warm water and rubbed with pumice stone. This treatment may take a month or two to start working.
The third option is to use cryotherapy at home. There are several brands of products that contain freon refrigerants and come with practical applicators.
Medical treatment for plantar warts
In case home treatment for plantar warts does not work, or they keep coming back, it is recommended to see a doctor. There are several options and doctors usually start with the ones that are the cheapest and the simplest.
Liquid nitrogen therapy also called cryotherapy or freezing therapy, uses liquid nitrogen that freezes the wart and destroys it. It is not a painful procedure but it can cause blisters on the surrounding skin. This treatment usually requires more than one session.
A minor surgical procedure is also an option. It is done with a local anesthetic, and the wart is cut off or destroyed with an electronic needle. This procedure is called electrodessication and curettage. It may hurt a bit after the anesthetic wears off, and sometimes it leaves a scar.
Finally, a plantar wart can be removed using laser surgery. It includes different types of laser and it can sometimes be painful. It is the most expensive medical option for plantar warts and it usually requires several sessions.