Can You Treat Plantar Warts at Home?

Jan 25, 2021

We get it. Hardly anybody is excited to show off their plantar warts in public – even to their podiatrist. If there is an option to treat your plantar warts in the privacy of your own home instead, why not take it?

Blogs and social media take advantage of people’s desires to find home remedies for warts, and will often throw out a ton of different “remedies” featuring stuff like apple cider vinegar, Listerine, toothpaste, and anything else they might think up that sounds halfway reasonable.

Unfortunately, a lot of social media “tips” like these are created not because they work, but because they’re easy to spread around and get clicks. A lot of home remedies simply have not shown any evidence of being effective.

Why Plantar Warts Are Hard to Treat – And Why Home Remedies Persist

While the rough, grainy bumps and patches are the obvious signs of plantar warts, the actual cause of them is a viral infection hiding beneath.

Plantar warts are caused by certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that enter in through breaks and weaknesses in the skin.

Once inside, the virus takes up a defensive position under the first few layers of the skin. This provides good protection from the outside world, while still not being quite deep enough for the body’s immune system to mount a strong counterattack. Warts are essentially living rent-free on your feet.

The good news is that plantar warts do tend to go away on their own – even if it can take a very long time to do so. In some cases, warts don’t disappear for a year or longer, and during that time they may spread to other regions of the feet, other regions of the body, or even to other people.

The fact that plantar warts can die off naturally, however, also tends to muddy the waters when it comes to the effectiveness of home remedies. Your great-aunt might swear that rubbing basil on her warts finally got rid of them, for example. But was it really the basil, or was that just what she was using at the time the warts finally started to disappear on their own? It can be hard to tell.

Can You Treat Plantar Warts at Home?

“So Should I Not Try Home Remedies?”

It would be dishonest for us to say that all home remedies have absolutely no chance of being effective for your plantar warts. Some things are possible, and if you are committed to trying a home remedy on your warts, there is typically little harm in doing so.

However, there is one big thing we ask you keep in mind:

  • Never attempt any form of plantar wart home treatment that involves cutting, burning, or otherwise damaging your skin!

If it involves knives, needles, or matches, you are much more likely to cause yourself plenty of unnecessary pain – not to mention open yourself up more to infection.

Additionally, if your plantar warts are causing you pain or any other form of trouble right now, it likely won’t be very helpful to delay proper treatment by investing time in remedies that probably won’t work. We highly recommend coming to us instead.

But with that said, if your warts are not currently causing you any real trouble and you still really want to try a home remedy, duct tape seems to be one that shows at least a little bit of promise.

Duct tape treatment involves keeping the wart covered with duct tape 24 hours per day, no exceptions. If the tape you are currently using falls off, you will want to stick new tape on there as soon as possible.

This form of treatment is believed to deprive the wart of outside support. The skin beneath will likely become softer, paler, and wrinkled. You can very gently rub it with sandpaper at this point (do not break the skin or cause yourself pain), and replace the duct tape immediately, repeating every few days. Make sure you have a good amount of sandpaper, as you should throw away each piece after one use.

As we noted, this is not guaranteed to work. If you don’t notice your warts looking smaller after 2 weeks or so, consider coming to see us instead.

Treating Plantar Warts Professionally

When you come to see Dr. Dailey for your plantar warts, he will fully examine the condition at hand and recommend a course of therapy to best provide results for your particular situation.

Options for wart treatment might include careful surgical removal, topical medications, or injection therapy. The goal will always be to provide results in a safe, controlled manner with as little damage to healthy skin as possible. That is not as easy to achieve using over-the-counter acids and other treatments at home.

Remember that the sooner you begin a treatment that works on your plantar warts, the sooner you can be rid of them and the sooner you won’t have to worry about them spreading to other parts of your body (or other people) anymore.

Call our Freeland office at (989) 695-6788 to schedule an appointment with us. If you prefer to reach us via electronic means instead, fill out our online contact form and a member of our staff will reach out to you during our standard office hours.

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