9 Home Remedies For Plantar Warts, Backed By Science

We all know that wart gets a bad rap. But, have you wondered why?

This is because it has been viewed as an affliction throughout history. According to research, warts are the second most common skin problems Human face.

While warts can occur anywhere on the skin, it commonly shows up on hands, feet, and faces.

In this article, we will discuss the most popular home remedies for plantar warts that are backed by science.

What is a Wart?

Home Remedies For Plantar Warts

The scientific name for wart is called Papilloma. According to Dr. Baer, a wart is a virus that penetrates into the skin through the top layer of the skin.

You can mostly find them in weight-bearing surfaces like the bottom of the foot, knees, hands, etc.

If you have a wart, then scratching, biting and shaving it can spread the virus around your body and also increases its spread elsewhere.

So, don't do that!

What Causes Warts?

Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The HPV has 100 different strains, and only some of them cause warts genitals.

The strain can determine which warts you will have. But since everyone's immune system is different, some people won't get warts at all, even if they have the same strain.

Normally, warts will come and go. But it spreads through skin to skin contact. You don't have to catch warts casually, but it is possible. A wet or scraped skin will increase the chances of spreading the virus.

So, Does That Mean Wart Is Contagious?

Warts can be very contagious. They can be quickly passed on from person to person, by merely stepping on a skin cell that contains the virus.

People who have these warts will also shed some of their skin microscopically. That means someone can pick it up by stepping on it.

You can even get it from touching someone’s towel that has warts or walking barefoot where someone with the virus has walked barefoot as well.

“I have a lot of Patients that will pick at their warts. And I always discouraged that because as a virus, it can spread to other parts of your body,” says Dr. Baer. “The right thing to do is to leave it alone instead of touching it,” He also added.

What Are The Types Of Warts?

There are 6 different types of warts commonly found. We have the:

Common Warts

These are usually found between the fingers and knees.

Verrucae - Plantar Warts

These are white, flat and form on the soles of the feet.

Filiform Warts

These are slender and show up on the neck, face, eyelids, and armpits.

Periungual Warts

This shows up under the fingernails or toenails and is shaped like the nail.

Mosaic and Flat Warts (Verruca Plana)

These two types of warts will form in clusters that are either flat or look like mosaic tiles on the face, hands, foot soles and legs.

Symptoms of a Plantar Wart

As earlier said, a plantar wart is a type of wart that is located on the bottom surface of the foot. In other words, any wart that is growing on the sole of the foot is called a plantar wart.

Some of the symptoms of plantar warts are:

  • Signs of wart on the sole.
  • Pains with direct pressure.
  • Pinching in a day-to-day basis without shoe gear.
  • Cauliflower head appearance.
  • The appearance of hard skin at the bottom of the foot like that of a callous.
  • Black Spots on the soles of the feet, also known as wart seeds.

Home Remedies for Plantar Warts

1. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a keratolytic treatment, which helps to remove the outer layer of dead skin. This makes it easier for a little bit of the top layer of a wart to be removed every time it is applied until the wart eventually disappears.

A study of 240 patients aged 12 and over whose plantar warts were considered suitable for being treated with salicylic acid and cryotherapy examined whether one option is more effective for clearing plantar warts.

It involved cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen being given up to 4 times every 2-3 weeks or a daily self-treatment of 50% salicylic acid for up to 8 weeks.

Both treatments worked equally well for clearing plantar warts.

Another double blind study involving 57 patients compared the effects of monochloroacetic acid crystals and 60% salicylic acid ointment with placebo. In the ‘active’ group, 66% of patients were considered to be cured compared to 18% in the placebo group.

Over the counter options are generally either a 17% combination treatment or a plaster patch containing 40% salicylic acid.

You will need:

  • Salicylic Acid liquid
  • A piece of cloth and warm water
  • An emery board or pumice stone

Directions:

  1. Soak the wart in warm water for around 5 minutes and then dry the area thoroughly

  2. File the surface of the wart with an emery board or pumice stone.

  3. Apply the salicylic acid treatment on the wart in line with the instructions. Generally, this involves either applying liquid treatment to the wart and covering with a bandage or applying a patch treated with salicylic acid over the wart.

  4. Leave the bandage or patch on the wart as per the treatment instructions. This is often for 24 or 48 hours at a time.

  5. After this amount of time has passed, remove the treatment and soak the wart(s) in warm water for 5-10 minutes.

  6. File the wart with a pumice stone or emery board.

  7. Apply a new treatment, repeating steps 3-6 until the wart disappears.

Bear in mind that the treatment process can take a few weeks.

#2 Apple Cider Vinegar

Another home remedy that is proven to be very useful in treating plantar warts is the use of Apple Cider Vinegar. This method is cheap, easy and fast.

It may also surprise you to know that the use of Apple Cider Vinegar to treat warts doesn't actually get rid of the virus. What it does is to attack and kill the wart on the flesh due to its high acidity.

After this, you will begin to notice some peeling off the skin, which eventually kills the virus in due time. Initially, you might notice some sort of soreness or swelling in the affected area.
Well, that shouldn't freak you out as this is part of the healing process. However, if the swelling or soreness persists, then you might want to stop the treatment.

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • A bandage, or a piece of cloth
  • Piece of cotton cloth or Cotton balls

Directions:

  1. Soak a piece of cotton fabric or a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar.
  2. Use the vinegar to dress the foot.
  3. Then massage the vinegar into the wart zone with a piece of cloth or gauze.
  4. Do this every night until you finally get rid of the wart.
  5. Make sure the oil penetrates into the skin and all around the wart.

While this practice may not immediately break down the wart, it will surely produce the desired result if you do it consistently.

#3 Garlic

Another home remedy to cure plantar wart is the use of garlic. Studies show that garlic comes with an organosulfur compounds to inhibit antiviral activity as well as the cellular proliferation of infected cells.

It was also shown that garlic has chloroform extracts to treat warts with no trace of any recurrence after a few months.

You will need:

  • A few garlic cloves
  • Warm water

Directions:

  1. Crush a few garlic cloves and apply it to the affected areas.
  2. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and wash the area properly.

Repeat these steps twice a day for about a week for relief.

#4 Duct Tape

Dr. Jerome Litt was the first person to use duct tape as an antidote for treating warts. And since then, this method has become so popular, thanks to a journal article that was published in 2002 by Focht et al. that compared the use of duct tape with cryotherapy for treating warts.

A study shows that 85% of the patients in the duct tape group got their warts completely treated within a month compared to 65% of patients in the cryotherapy group.

This goes a long way to show how effective this home remedy is for treating warts. And the best part is that it’s completely safe and doesn't come with any side effect.

The philosophy behind duct tape is trying to suffocate the wart by not letting the wart breath.

Don't worry; it is painless.

Apart from being cost-effective, it is also one of the most optimal home remedies for treating children with warts.

You will need:

  • A piece of duct tape
  • A pumice or an emery board
  • Warm water

Directions:

  1. Wrapping a wart with duct tape for 6 days.
  2. Six days later, remove the duct tape and soak the affected area in warm water.
  3. After that, use pumicing stone or emery board to scrub the wart after soaking.
  4. So for that night, leave the wart open for fresh air.
  5. Then, repeat the 6 days circle the following morning.
  6. You should repeat this process for up to 2 months to permanently treat the wart.

#5 Hot-Water Treatment

Soaking warts in plain hot water helps to soften the blemishes and heal them quickly. Apart from that, this method helps to fight against the virus and prevents infection.

You will need:

  • A big bowl of Hot/warm soapy water
  • Pumice stone
  • White vinegar or salicylic acid

Directions

  1. Place your feet inside the warm and soapy water to soak the wart area until it softens, says MayoClinic.com
  2. Wash your feet with the soapy water while it is still in the water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add more warm/hot water if the water starts cooling off.
  4. After that, remove your feet from the bowl or tub and rinse it off, then pat it dry.
  5. After that, use an exfoliating pumice stone to scrub it until it gets to the level of the skin.
  6. Take a liquid like white vinegar or salicylic acid on a cotton swab, and then hold it against the affected area for 15 minutes.

Pro tip: To make it even more efficient, you can add a little white vinegar to it.

You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Warm water

Steps:

  1. Take two tablespoons of white vinegar.
  2. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to it and mix.
  3. Then apply this on the affected area.
  4. Repeat this twice in a day: that is once in the morning and evening.

#6 Lemongrass Essential Oil

Many essential oils have antiviral qualities, which can help to kill the virus that causes warts and prevent a recurrence.

One study looked at the ability of 12 essential oils to inhibit the extent to which the herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) can replicate itself.

It found that lemongrass oil could do this at a concentration of 0.1%. There was also a lesser ability to inhibit HSV-1 at lower concentrations. Lemongrass demonstrated the most potent antiviral activity of the essential oils used in the study.

You will need:

  • Lemongrass essential oil
  • A carrier oil to mix with the lemongrass oil
  • Cotton balls
  • A bandage or some medical tape
  • Warm water

Directions:

  1. Wash the area around the wart with warm water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Mix 10 drops of lemongrass oil and 1 teaspoon of carrier oil and store in a small, dark bottle.
  3. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and position over the wart.
  4. Keep in place with a bandage or some medical tape.
  5. Repeat these steps twice daily until the wart has gone.

#7 Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree is another essential oil with antiviral and antibacterial qualities, which can be beneficial for treating the virus that causes warts. This also makes it less likely that the wart will come back again at a later date.

A clinical study using tea tree oil to tackle warts was very successful for a pediatric patient with hand warts. Tea tree oil was applied topically every day for 12 days, and its results in this study have led researchers to believe that it could be used as a treatment for warts elsewhere on the body.

Tea tree oil can be used neat as a treatment for plantar warts, without needing to be diluted with a carrier oil.

You will need:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Cotton balls
  • A bandage or medical tape
  • Warm water

Directions:

  1. Wash the wart and the surrounding area in warm water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Soak a cotton ball with a few drops of tea tree oil and place it on the wart.
  3. Fix the cotton ball with a bandage or some medical tape and leave in place, preferably overnight.
  4. Repeat on a daily basis until the wart disappears.

Bear in mind that it can take up to 3 weeks for this treatment to be effective.

#8 Banana Peel Patch

Strange as it may sound, the banana peel can be used to treat plantar warts.

Fresh peel is more effective than using frozen peel, and the results are more likely to be successful when using bananas that have just turned yellow.

You will need:

  • Banana peel
  • Medical tape
  • Warm water
  • Optional - cotton balls and tea tree oil

Directions:

  1. Wash the wart and surrounding area with warm water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Cut off a piece of banana peel and put it on the wart before going to bed. An inch of peel should be enough in most cases.
  3. Keep it in place with some medical tape and leave overnight.
  4. Repeat these steps on a nightly basis until the wart dies

For maximum results, add a few drops of tea tree oil to the wart beforehand and then apply the patch.

Bear in mind that it can take up to 3 weeks for treatment to be effective.

#9 Imiquimod cream, salicylic acid and duct tape

Using Imiquimod cream on warts can encourage the immune system to fight against the virus that causes warts. In combination with other treatments, it can be very successful in removing plantar warts.

A study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal examined the effects of using 5% imiquimod cream in conjunction with salicylic acid and duct tape occlusion.

The study focused on plantar warts that had not responded positively to cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen or topical applications of salicylic acid and podophyllin.

The wart on the left foot was completely destroyed by 3 weeks after the last application of Imiquimod. Although the treatment focused on the left foot, the untreated wart on the right foot also resolved itself. Neither wart had recurred after 19 months.

You will need:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Warm water and a cloth
  • 5% Imiquimod cream
  • Grey duct tape
  • Medical tape
  • An emery board or pumice stone

Directions:

For the salicylic acid treatment:

  1. Wash the wart and surrounding area in warm water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Apply salicylic acid treatment as per the product instructions.
  3. Repeat this daily for 2 weeks

For the Imiquimod treatment:

  1. Wash the wart and area around it in warm water and dry thoroughly.
  2. Apply 5% Imiquimod cream daily to the wart.
  3. Repeat this daily for 6 weeks

For the duct tape occlusion:

  1. Clean the wart and the skin around it and dry thoroughly.
  2. Cut a piece of grey duct tape and use it to cover the wart. It should be no bigger than the wart.
  3. Leave it in place for 6 days. If it falls off before this, replace it with a new piece.
  4. Remove the duct tape and soak the wart in warm water.
  5. Gently file the wart with an emery board or pumice stone.
  6. Leave the wart uncovered overnight and reapplied new duct tape the next day.
  7. Leave on for 6 days and repeat steps 4-6 as needed until the wart drops off.

Other Known Wart Treatments

Laser Treatment

Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL) therapy targets the blood supply to the wart, which encourages it to cauterize.

In a study involving 40 adults with plantar warts, PDL therapy was compared with conventional therapy with liquid nitrogen or cantharidin.

The results were very similar, which suggests that PDL therapy can be a successful treatment for plantar warts.

In other research, over 95% of patients found that their simple warts were highly responsive to PDL therapy, although not all were plantar warts.

A study on CO2 laser vaporization found that it could be successful where cryotherapy and electrocautery had failed.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy involves freezing warts, usually with liquid nitrogen.

In a study of 514 plantar warts, cryotherapy proved very effective. A total of 92.5% of them cleared, with 83.5% clearing after one treatment. Of the three warts that failed to clear, they still became smaller and less uncomfortable following cryotherapy.

Other studies have found mixed results with cryotherapy for plantar warts although using it in conjunction with other treatments generally improved the success rate.

Surgical Removal

Surgical excision can completely remove a wart with minimal post-treatment side effects.

In one study, a male with several different types of warts was successfully treated with electrocautery for his plantar warts.

This has been backed up by other studies, which have shown a success rate of around 85% for blunt surgical dissection.

Ultrasound

Some studies have suggested that ultrasound therapy can have some success in treating plantar warts, possibly due to factors such as heat or psychotherapy.

Success rates in these studies varied from 77% to 84%, and it was generally the case that older warts were less receptive to ultrasound therapy than ones that had developed more recently.

On the other hand, other studies have had less positive results and have found ultrasound therapy to have no healing effect that was a direct result of it for treating plantar warts.


Folk Remedies 🙂

When looking to treat plantar warts at home, you may come across some of these folk remedies.

There isn’t any genuine scientific backing for any of these remedies, but they are widely believed in some cultures.

These are just a few folk remedies from around the world for treating warts:

Using a Potato

In Louisiana, there is a long-held folk belief that potatoes can cure warts. This includes rubbing it over the wart and even burying it.

Research has shown that even practicing public health nurses in the area hold the superstition that once “the buried potato has dried up, and the wart will be gone”.

“White lady makes a sign of the cross over the hand and prays in French …”

Another folk remedy from Louisiana for curing warts is even more obscure. It involves “a white lady making the sign of a cross over the hand and praying in French. Then she taps hand three times, makes the sign of the cross again and the warts fall in around three weeks”, as one public health nurse told the researcher.

Rubbing the Affliction with a Snail

A traditional folk cure from Ulster involves rubbing a snail (or slug) on the wart and impaling the snail on a thorn afterward!

Cutting an Apple in Half, Rubbing Each Half on Your Warts

An Old English folk tale revolves around apples.

Rather than eating it or even applying it to warts, one superstition claims that you can get rid of a wart by cutting an apple in half and rubbing each piece on your warts before putting the apple back together and burying it.


Is it possible to prevent plantar warts?

As you can see, there are lots of ways that you can look to treat plantar warts if they develop.

What about preventing them in the first place though?

● Warts are very contagious and plantar warts are not exception

● Once a wart has been successfully treated, it could still mean that another wart crops up in the same place, nearby or even elsewhere on the body

● Limit your exposure to the virus that causes plantar warts as much as you can, as this is by far the best way to avoid getting plantar warts!

● Dry your feet thoroughly after washing or bathing as warts can thrive in moist conditions

● Don’t touch warts (your own or others)

● Don’t share clothing, towels or similar with anyone else

● Don’t barefoot anywhere where the virus may live

● Yoga mats and communal swimming pools can be common culprits for spreading the virus that causes plantar warts

● There’s no definite way to prevent plantar warts, but these tips can help to reduce the chances


Do’s and Don’ts

Here are a few tips for what to do (and not to do!) for treating plantar warts at home:

● Don’t expect overnight miracles even for treatments that are ultimately successful; it can still take several weeks for plantar warts to fully disappear

● Do try essential oils - they can be just as effective as more conventional treatments

● Do try home treatments with salicylic acid, which can be successful in treating plantar warts after a few weeks

● Do harness the power of everyday items such as banana peel; these have proved successful for some people

● Folk remedies can be amusing but don’t expect them to have much success!

Do try to avoid plantar warts by not exposing yourself to the virus.


Conclusion

There you have it. Now that you have one or two ideas about wart, I am confident that the above-suggested home remedies will help you treat any form of warts you are struggling with.

So, what do you think about warts? Do they creep you out? Do you have one?

Which home remedy would you recommend we use based on your experience? Tell us about it down in the comments.

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