Best (and Worst) Ways to Deal with Plantar Warts
Plantar warts—those small, ugly skin growths that appear on the bottoms of feet—can be frustrating, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and in some cases even painful. Kids get them all the time due to their less-than-fully-developed immune systems, but the truth is that warts can happen to anyone under the right circumstances.
Most likely, if you or your child picks up one of these unsightly blemishes, the first thing on your mind will be “How do I get rid of it?” A casual Google search may reveal several suggested solutions, but not all of them are equally good.
Fortunately, you have a foot expert on your side to give you the straight truth on the best and worst ways to deal with plantar warts.
The solution? Any home remedy.
The verdict? Avoid.
The best thing you can say about just about any home remedy is “it probably won’t work.” In our experience, none of them are particularly effective, whether you get an over-the-counter wart kit at the pharmacy or you try a more exotic approach (like the infamous “duct tape” method). Worse, some home kits which contain peeling medicine or other harmful chemicals can actually damage healthy skin. So, not only will they not work, but they’ll actually make your situation worse. Hard pass.
The solution? Do nothing.
The verdict? Not generally recommended.
The vast majority of warts won’t pose any serious health risks, unless you have a condition that weakens circulation, nerve function, or immunity (diabetes, HIV/AIDS, neuropathy, etc.). They also tend to go away on their own in time, though it can take a couple of years. So, if there’s no emergency and your wart isn’t really bothering you, why get treatment at all? That’s certainly an option, but we still do recommend treatment. Warts can multiply and spread to other areas of the body (or rarely other people) under the right conditions. It’s better to prevent that from happening as early as possible, rather than take your chances.
The solution? Topical treatments at a podiatry office.
The verdict? Usually the best choice.
For most people, this will be the top option for plantar wart removal. At your appointment, we’ll carefully apply a small amount of topical medicine to the wart. The medicine will remove layers of the wart and may cause a blister that will allow the dead wart tissue to slough off. This is performed safely in our office to avoid any collateral damage to healthy skin. In either case, 2-3 treatments may be necessary to fully eliminate the wart.
The solution? Surgical excision.
The verdict? Not typically necessary.
For the most part, topical treatments are going to be the preferred option over surgery. They might not work as fast and you may need a couple of follow-up appointments, but they almost always get the job done safely in a reasonable timeframe. Surgery gets the job done quickly, but it’s more invasive, more painful, and could leave behind scarring. Still, this is an option we have in the proverbial “back pocket” for severe warts that don’t respond to medicine.
At Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper, our team will be happy to help you find and receive the best treatment for your plantar warts. Give us a call today at (812) 481-7200.