How to get rid of plantar warts is a very common medical question considering that plantar warts, caused by the human papillomavirus, affect an estimated 7-10% of Americans. There are many treatments available, ranging from home remedies to medical solutions, each with different degrees of efficacy.
Home Remedies for Plantar Warts
There are a few home remedies which can treat plantar warts. One of the most common treatments is salicylic acid, available in many over-the-counter preparations. A daily regimen of soaking the foot for 5-10 minutes, applying the salicylic acid treatment, and using a file or washcloth to remove excess tissue can make the wart begin to go away within 1-2 weeks. Soaking the wart in water for longer periods of time, up to 90 minutes a day, without salicylic acid, or applying vitamin A directly to the wart can help reduce the wart, but it may take several months to get rid of the wart using these methods.
Medical Treatments for Plantar Warts
Plantar warts can also be treated in a variety of ways by doctors; although these solutions are more expensive than self-treatment, they resolve the problem much more quickly. Doctors will often use topical treatments first to get rid of the warts, either by freezing them with liquid nitrogen, or applying a combination of salicylic acid and 0.7% canthardin to burn the wart off. A cream containing the chemical imiquimod, which stimulates the immune system, can also be applied in a similar fashion by the doctor. These treatments can be painful, or require several applications, but they generally get rid of the wart in 1-2 weeks. Warts can also be removed using more intensive methods. Bleomycin injections at the site of the wart generally can get rid of the problem on the first session, with 87% of patients not requiring another visit, but these injections can be painful. Laser removal uses a variety of lasers set at different wavelengths to penetrate to various levels beneath the skin. While anesthesia may be required, laser removal is generally considered painless, as well as clean and effective. Another option which doctors may use for resilient warts is minor surgery. While the patient is under anesthesia, the doctor uses a scalpel or electric needle to physically cut away the wart.
“Plantar warts: Treatments and drugs – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/plantar-warts/DS00509/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs.
“Warts.” eMedicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2010. www.emedicinehealth.com/plantar_warts/article_em.htm.