At Home and Safely

    I tried the entire selection of over-the-counter treatments but they didn’t work. I went to see a podiatrist and had limited success there. If you’re reading this you may feel like you’ve run out of options, too. Remember, it’s always best to have a doctor confirm that you have a plantar wart. But if you’re pretty sure that you have one then it’s time to try what I call the banana peel treatment. I had a plantar wart on the heel of my foot for eleven years, but I got rid of it by using banana peels.

 The Cost of Treatment

    Bananas are cheap medicine when compared to modern medicines. The banana peel treatment can be done at home, and it should remove a plantar wart in about two or three weeks. I paid about $15.00 for the following items: bananas, cloth tape, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, rough texture emery boards, disposable gloves, and sterile gauze pads. As a bonus, these items have multiple household uses. When I went to the podiatrist I paid insurance copays for appointments and prescriptions. Typically, a follow up appointment can lead to another step in the progressive therapy that most foot doctors follow: 1) over the counter salicylic acid or prescription cream; 2) cryosurgery, intralesional immunotherapy, or pulsed dye laser therapy; and 3) bleomycin, surgical excision. The cost of wart treatments and doctor visits can add up quickly.  So, instead of going ape over cost, I decided to use the banana peel treatment, relax, and prop up my feet.

 5 Steps for Removal of Warts

    I applied banana peel to my plantar wart for one hour, two or three times a day, for three weeks, and that got rid of it. A smaller wart might have gone away in just two weeks. Mine, however, was 5.5 cm in circumference and it was on my foot for 11 years. Amazingly, I got rid of it by using these five steps: 1) cut a piece of peel, a little bigger than the wart, out of an unpeeled banana; 2) place pulp side of peel on wart and secure peel to area with tape; 3) wait for at least an hour and try not to put a lot of pressure on it; 4) remove peel and clean area with rubbing alcohol and cotton balls; 5) remove excess, calloused skin with an emery board, or other foot tool, and clean the area. When finished, tape a sterile gauze pad over the plantar wart, or wear a sock, or do both. I kept the banana in the refrigerator and continued to cut pieces out of it for a day or two. I broke the cardboard based emery boards in half to get more uses out of them. Important: Always be certain to wear protective gloves when fingers are near plantar warts. Put used emery boards and latex gloves in the trash; they should be for one use only. Once you're certain that your plantar wart is gone and healed over you'll be much more confident on your feet.

 Are They Contagious?

    Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Yes, they are contagious, but they're not highly contagious. In fact, antibodies in the human body usually kill this strain of the virus before it can cause problems. There are over one hundred types of HPV, and only some types cause plantar warts. Therefore, I never worried about this strain of HPV causing cervical cancer or genital warts. But, when I had a plantar wart I did worry that it might spread. I didn’t want to get another one or give one to somebody else.

 How do you get a wart?

    This strain of HPV thrives in warm, moist environments. Public spaces such as shower floors, locker rooms, and pools are environments where the virus can be found. Walking on these surfaces with bare feet may expose you to the virus. The virus usually enters through a break in the skin on the bottom of the foot. Your risk of getting a plantar wart increases if your feet are dry and cracked; people with cuts or open sores on their feet and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get a plantar wart. All age groups are susceptible to this strain of HPV virus, although, for reasons unknown, some people are more immune than others. It's important to point out that frequent exposure to this HPV virus will not result in a build-up of resistance to plantar warts. Direct contact with plantar wart HPV, even your own, can spread it to other areas. Also, tools such as pumice stones or nail clippers that have been in touch with this virus can spread it. We all should know that blood and skin cells can transfer a virus from one place to another or from one person to another. There are dark pin points (also referred to as a seeds) visible within a plantar wart. These are a blood supply used by the virus. If you cut into a dark pinpoint by rubbing or cutting a plantar wart with a foot care tool, it will bleed. The virus can spread in this manner, too.

 What do they look like?

    A plantar wart becomes noticeable after the virus causes skin cells in the foot to multiply quickly, creating an excess growth of skin. They occur on the bottom of your foot, usually on the heel or ball of your foot. Normally, they are gray or white in color with dark pinpoints; sometimes, they're brown or yellow in color. The visible part of the wart is only the tip of the problem. Plantar warts are flat on the surface of the skin and they grow inwards, which adds to the pain of this type of wart. The virus will continue to be fed by more blood, thus cell multiplication will become more rapid. Your skin will form what looks like a callous over the plantar wart. It can be very difficult to tell when the virus began to grow; therefore, it’s hard to blame anyone or anything. But, fortunately, plantar warts are noncancerous (benign) skin growths, and there is a cure.

 How to prevent them?

    There are things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting type 1 or type 2 HPV, which are most often the cause of plantar warts. Practice keeping your feet clean and dry. Try to avoid walking barefoot in public places. Keep a pair of flip-flops in your gym bag for use when in public showers, pools, locker rooms, and other places that may be suspect. Person-to-person contact can spread plantar warts as well. Do not scratch, pick, or touch a plantar wart. If you share a bed with someone, remember, the plantar wart virus can pass from foot to foot or from bed sheet to foot. Always use protective disposable gloves when treating a plantar wart. Clean foot tools thoroughly, or put them in the trash. Wash clothes as usual. Avoid contact with any skin shed, or bloodshed, from a plantar wart. It is uncertain whether or not type 1 or type 2 HPV ever goes into complete remission, but no plantar warts have developed on my feet for over a year. I pay close attention to my feet, and I take good care of them. The banana peel treatment is one of many home remedies for wart removal, but it worked for me. I definitely would use the banana peel treatment again to remove a plantar wart, if I ever get another one.