Plantar warts are small, noncancerous growths that occur on the soles of your feet. They’re caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), which is a contagious virus that can be contracted through contact with an infected person or object. Plantar warts are usually benign, but they can be painful and uncomfortable. If you have a plantar wart, you may want to consider treatment to get rid of it. There are several options available, including over-the-counter medications, home remedies, and medical procedures. If left untreated, they can spread to other parts of the foot and body.
Causes of plantar warts
There are many possible causes of plantar warts, but the most common cause is direct contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV virus is believed to enter the body through tiny cuts or breaks in the skin on the bottom of the feet. Once the virus enters the body, it can cause a plantar wart to form.
Other possible causes of plantar warts include:
- Sharing towels or other personal items with someone who has a plantar wart
- Walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and showers
- Having minor skin trauma, such as a cut or scrape on the bottom of the foot
Symptoms of plantar warts
The most common symptom of a plantar wart is a small growth on the bottom of the foot. The growth is usually firm and flesh-colored. It may have black dots, which are actually tiny blood vessels. Plantar warts can occur singly or in clusters. They’re usually painful when pressure is applied to them, such as when walking or standing.
Other symptoms of plantar warts include:
- A feeling of discomfort or pain in the affected area
- Cracks or breaks in the skin over the wart
Treatment options for plantar warts
There are a number of different treatment options available for plantar warts. The best course of action will depend on the severity of the wart, your symptoms, and your preference.
There are a number of over-the-counter treatments that can be effective in treating plantar warts. These include:
- Salicylic acid: This is a common treatment for plantar warts. It’s available in various forms, such as gels, creams, ointments, and patches. Salicylic acid works by breaking down the wart tissue. It’s important to follow the directions on the package carefully to avoid damaging healthy skin. Other over-the-counter treatments include duct tape and cantharidin.
There are a number of home remedies that can be effective in treating plantar warts. These include:
- Using banana peels: Banana peels contain enzymes that can help to break down the wart tissue. To use this method, cut a piece of banana peel to fit over the wart. Secure it in place with a bandage and leave it overnight. Repeat this process until the wart is gone.
- Soaking in vinegar: Vinegar is an acidic substance that can help to kill the HPV virus. To use this method, soak a cotton ball in vinegar and apply it to the wart. Cover the area with a bandage and leave it in place for 30 minutes. Repeat this process three times a day until the wart is gone.
- Using garlic: Garlic contains compounds that can help to kill the HPV virus. To use this method, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub it over the wart. Leave the garlic on the wart for 30 minutes and then wash it off. Repeat this process three times a day until the wart is gone.
If home remedies and over-the-counter treatments are not effective, your doctor may recommend a medical procedure to remove the plantar wart. These include:
- Cryotherapy: This is a common treatment for plantar warts. It involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen. The frozen wart will eventually fall off.
- Curettage: This is a procedure in which the wart is cut out with a sharp instrument.
- Laser therapy: This is a procedure in which the wart is destroyed with a laser.
Complications of plantar warts
Plantar warts can cause pain and discomfort, but they are usually not serious. In rare cases, however, plantar warts can lead to more serious complications, such as:
- Infection of the bone (osteomyelitis)
- Nerve damage
- Spread of the virus to other parts of the body
Prevention of plantar warts
There is no sure way to prevent plantar warts. However, you can take steps to reduce your risk of getting them. These include:
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and showers.
- Wearing sandals or flip-flops in public places.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Don't pick at or scratch warts.
- Not sharing towels, shoes, or other personal items with someone who has a plantar wart.
Plantar warts are a common condition that can cause pain and discomfort. There are a number of treatment options available, including over-the-counter treatments, home remedies, and medical procedures. In most cases, plantar warts will go away on their own. However, in rare cases, they can lead to more serious complications. You can take steps to reduce your risk of getting plantar warts by avoiding walking barefoot in public places and not sharing towels or personal items with someone who has a plantar wart.