I hold a Master of Science degree in organic chemistry from Yale University and coauthored numerous scientific publications.
What Is a Plantar Wart?
Plantar warts are benign skin growths on the bottom of your feet. According to the Mayo Clinic, plantar warts occur when the human papillomavirus enters the skin through a crack or a cut. The virus multiplies in warm, moist areas, such as shower floors, locker rooms, or public swimming areas. Therefore, going barefoot in these places can cause you to become infected.
A plantar wart grows inward and shows up as a white or off-white spot at a place that is subjected to the pressure of standing or walking. Sometimes, the presence of clotted blood vessels causes tiny dark specks to appear on the wart. Plantar warts frequently make standing or walking a painful experience. Plantar warts are easily distinguished from other kinds of warts because they only appear on the bottom of the foot, and they grow inward, not outward.
You should not use the below-mentioned methods if you have diabetes, nerve damage in your feet, or if your immune system is in any way compromised.
There are two major treatments that you can buy for at-home removal of plantar warts. One of them is a cryogenic method that is based on freezing the wart at a temperature well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. The other uses an organic compound called salicylic acid, which is commonly applied as a liquid or an adhesive patch. Cryogenic products available over the counter include Wartner and Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away Wart Remover.
Before treatment, it is a good idea to soak the wart in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes and then scrape it with a pumice stone to expose it fully. The cryogenic material is sprayed from a can onto a small cylindrical sponge for application to the plantar wart. You place the sponge directly onto the wart for 10 to 20 seconds if the wart is on less callused portions of the foot. For callused areas such as the heel or ball of the foot, you hold the sponge on the wart for a maximum of 40 seconds.
Adherence to the prescribed times is important, so you don't freeze the skin tissue too deeply. As the cold penetrates the wart, you will probably feel some pain. In many cases, a single treatment is all that is needed to kill the wart, and in one to ten days, it will eject from the skin. After about ten days, if the wart is still present, you can treat it again in the same way as described. If you find that the wart is still there after three treatments, you should consult your doctor.
One of the over-the-counter salicylic acid treatments involves using a small, circular patch that adheres directly to the plantar wart and is fixed in place with a band-aid or other external covering. The patch remains in place for 48 hours. Before applying the patch, you should soak your foot and scrape the area over the wart with a pumice stone. You can repeat the procedure every 48 hours for up to 12 weeks until the wart is killed. Often times, you will know the wart has been killed because when you remove the patch, the wart will stick to it. From my personal experience, I can say that the salicylic acid patch method is painless. There is also a liquid formulation of salicylic acid that is sold without a prescription, and you normally apply this to the plantar wart twice a day.
This hub has been written for the sole purpose of providing information to the reader. It is not intended to be a source of any kind of medical advice or instruction, and it should not be used in the diagnosis of any illness, disease, or condition. You should consult your doctor if you have questions about a specific medical problem.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Judy on June 21, 2019:
I had a plantar wart at the age of 7. My mom thought it was a splinter and put alcohol on it and it just got worse. After finding out it was a wart I spent a lot of money on over the counter products until I was 26 that never worked. Then I came across a home remedy of ACV and duct tape method that worked great. After 6 weeks of repeating this method, it fell off in the shower! I was so happy to be free of this annoyance. Now 8 years later I started to feel the itchy swelling returning to the same exact spot! UGH!!! I can't believe it's back! But I am using the ACV again and it's dying once again. I am taking vitamins and eating healthy to help my immune system fight this virus! It is so important to be consistent when it returns because for a week I was in denial but as soon as I put the ACV on it you could see the black seed raise that was hidden so deep that even with a light I couldn't see it until the ACV soaked it for three days! Eat healthily and don't stop the ACV treatment until there is an empty hole skin there! Don't let it stay there and ignore it! Keep it up and it will be gone fast! Blessings!
Max on September 19, 2014:
I had a plantar wart on my toes and the bottom of my foot.We have tried many different doctors and many different methods(dipping your feet in salt water and using duct tape ),not saying this did not do anything,but it didn't give us the results we needed.We prayed to the Lord to help us figure out how to get rid of the virus and he gave us 2 solutions.Gel super glue and vinegar.
How it works:before we would put on glue we would use a blow dryer to dry it,then put glue on it and dry it again.Then after 2 hours put on apple cider vinegar.We did this method a few times and it started to hurt,but I knew something was changing.It began to get darker and very visible but slowly the virus began to shrink while continuing to use the apple cider vinegar and gel super glue.
The virus has left me and I am happy.