What Are Plantar Warts and How Do You Treat Them?

Plantar warts make themselves known when you experience foot pain when standing or walking. Upon examination of the area you will see a small lesion that looks like a small cauliflower with tiny black spots that are actually hemorrhages under the skin.

Plantar warts are caused by the highly contagious human papilloma virus. The virus causes a benign tumor. This virus can survive months without a host and you can pick it up on the soles of your feet when walking barefoot in moist public areas, such as showers or pools.

Plantar warts are actually an infection of the skin where the virus entered the outer most layer through a small crack or scrape. Some public pools, showers and walkways have chlorine sprayed on the surfaces to reduce bacteria, however if you are barefoot and walk immediately behind an infected person, you can pick up the virus.

The growth of the lesion caused by the virus often is pushed inward by your weight when walking or standing. The skins reaction is to build up more layers and harden around the lesion. This cycle of building and being pushed inward can create clusters of warts and destruction of the adjacent healthy skin. Most people report the pain when walking or standing on a plantar wart as being a 5 or 6 on a scale of 10 with 10 being the most painful.

Because the warts can start to bleed a few drops externally, can spread to both feet, and can actually make you bed-ridden if not removed, most people look for treatment as soon as possible. The treatments range from surgery to simple home remedies. These are three primary treatments and comments on how you may use them:

1. Surgical removal of warts. Having surgery should be a last resort treatment because it does not cure but only removes the calloused skin and sometimes parts of the cauliflower wart. The virus is still present in your body and an outbreak can re-occur.

Often surgery is preformed using liquid nitrogen - this is called cryosurgery and can be very painful if there are a lot of warts. The liquid nitrogen actuarial burns off the wart and adjacent healthy skin and causes the body to heal over the infected area.

2. Duct tape application. The principle of the duct tape application is to cushion the skin, keep the skin moist so eventually the wart will peel off when the sticky tape is removed. This is similar to quickly removing cotton gauze when waxing to remove unwanted hair.

Duct tape can be very bad for healthy skiing near the wart. It can cause cracks and breaks in healthy foot skin when tearing the tape off the wart. As the wart goes inward and more layers of hard skin form to protect your foot, the surface of the wart is all that is treatable with this tape-and-wait-and-rip method.

3 Salicylic acid application. It is compound that is chemically similar to the active ingredient in aspirin although it is not identical. Salicylic acid is a homeopathic anti-inflammatory solution. It works on warts by exfoliation of the skin.

Some reports indicate that the latent virus in the body become activated by the papilloma virus. This makes timeliness of treatment critical and cleanliness of feet more diligently needed. Because salicylic acid must be applied to each wart to remove the outbreak, it becomes necessary to consider grabbing a friend to help, using rubber gloves when handling the feet, and all precautions to prevent spreading the warts to others.

Bathing the feet in warm, soapy water first, then towel-drying the feet completely is necessary twice a day. Once the feet are dry, apply salicylic acid with a cotton ball or with a small brush which will dry the wart and exfoliation of the skin attacked by the virus.

The method of exfoliation works well because the dead skin associated with the virus will be attacked and the healthy adjacent skin will glow from the effort.