How to get rid of plantar warts

Young Patient Describing Foot Pain and Discomfort with Foot Model

We’re all familiar with the common wart (those small, hard bumps that grow on our hands, fingers, toes, and other parts of the body). “Plantar wart” simply refers to the common wart that grows on the soles of your feet (plantar surface).

Unlike warts that appear on the hands, plantar warts are usually flat due to the pressure of walking or standing. Though they may appear thick like calluses, they are easy to identify by the black dots within the topmost layer. Despite common belief, plantar warts aren’t seeds. These black dots are actually blood vessels feeding the wart.

Now that we can identify a wart versus a callus, let’s explore how to get rid of warts and what your treatment options are in Scottsdale, Arizona.

What you need to know about plantar warts

Plantar warts are often painless and resolve on their own in time. There is no need to rush to the emergency room or attempt to cut them away. Plantar warts affect all ages, but they most often show up on children and teenagers, especially for youth who are active in pools or in sports that utilize public facilities. As warts are so common, the wisest approach is to be knowledgeable of the best wart removers for when plantar warts inevitably appear.

How to remove plantar warts

Plantar wart removers and treatments include over-the-counter remedies, medication, creams, minor surgery, and vaccination against the HPV virus that causes plantar warts. The goal is to stop the blood flow to the wart and keep the foot environment dry so the wart can’t spread.

Over-the-counter remedies to remove foot warts include nonprescription peeling medicine or freezing medicine. These will vary in effectiveness, and they can take weeks to see results. Alternatively, your podiatrist may suggest the following treatments during a quick visit.

Topical: Salicylic acid

You can purchase over-the-counter salicylic acid for about $5–25, depending on the brand. However, prescription-strength salicylic acid is stronger and can remove a plantar wart layer by layer. You will get treatment in the office and be able to apply the medicine at home.

Topical: Trichloroacetic acid

Trichloroacetic acid is stronger than salicylic acid, and you can also purchase it over the counter for about $22–100, depending on the brand. Physicians use wooden toothpicks to apply trichloroacetic acid. After the first application, weekly treatment may be required. Your podiatrist will let you know if you need to apply this acid at home.

Medication & cream: Immunotherapy

Medications can stimulate your immune system to fight viral warts. For this treatment, you may receive an injection with an antigen, or the physician may apply a cream.

Minor surgery: Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is one of the most common ways to treat warts. The podiatrist applies liquid nitrogen via a swab or a spray. A blister then forms on the wart, and the dead tissue falls away within a week. Recurring treatment every two to four weeks may be needed to remove the plantar wart completely.

Minor surgery: Laser treatment

Laser treatments cauterize tiny blood vessels. When you cut off the blood vessels supplying the wart, the tissue dies, and the wart subsequently falls off. This form of treatment may require additional treatments every three to four weeks.

Vaccination: HPV vaccine

The HPV vaccine isn’t designed to target plantar warts. However, if you commonly have plantar warts, getting the HPV vaccine may decrease their frequency, and it may clear up warts you currently have.

Young Boy with Plantar Wart on Foot

How not to remove plantar warts

Don’t try to cut the wart off with nail clippers or other blades. While this may seem like a logical solution, it will only address the top layer of the wart and not its roots. Trying to cut the wart off at home may cause bleeding, which will allow the wart to spread and invite further infection.

How to prevent plantar warts from spreading

  • Socks: Change socks daily or wear moisture-wicking socks.
  • Shoes: Wear shower shoes if you or your family frequently use public pools or locker rooms.
  • Wash: Do not touch a wart. If you do, wash your hands immediately with soap and warm water.
  • Dry: Make sure to completely dry your feet after bathing and before putting on socks and shoes.

Book a wart removal appointment with a Scottsdale podiatrist

If you need plantar warts removed faster than over-the-counter remedies can manage or your foot warts are painful, book an appointment with Arizona Foot Doctors today. Our Scottsdale podiatrists can assess the extent of the infection and recommend the most effective treatment and prevention methods for wart removal. We’ll help keep you and your family’s feet healthy for all sorts of indoor and outdoor fun.