Plantar warts are small warts that develop on the soles of the feet and the toes. They are caused by certain varieties of the human papillomavirus, and it is believed that up to 10% of the population in the US is affected by them. Since this is such a common problem, there's a lot of interest in plantar wart removal methods, which we'll take a look at in this article.
First of all, it's worth knowing that in most cases, plantar warts will clear up by themselves even without any treatment. However, it can still be worth getting treatment to alleviate the pain and discomfort that these warts can cause, and to shorten their duration.
A simple plantar wart treatment that most people try as a first option is an over the counter remedy that contains salicyclic acid. This helps to peel away the layers of skin on the surface of the foot, and gradually the root of the wart is exposed. The chemical may be applied from a bottle, or you can also get pads impregnated with it to stick on the feet. With consistent treatment, remedies of this type may show results in around three months.
Another plantar wart remedy to try at home is to use duct tape â€“ just cover the wart and immediate surrounding area with the tape, replacing it regularly to keep the area clean. This method has proven effective for many people, and probably works by causing the wart to die from lack of oxygen.
If your plantar warts fail to respond to such initial simple treatments, your doctor can offer other options. These include cryosurgery, which basically freezes the wart using liquid nitrogen, and immunotherapy, which causes the body's immune system to attack the HPV virus. Surgical excision of the wart is another option, although surgery is generally regarded as a last resort.
It's important to remember that plantar wart cures may not be lasting, and if the virus remains active in the body, new warts can develop. You can help to prevent recurrences by keeping the immune system strong by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Infection can also be prevented by wearing protective rubber socks in public swimming pools and other warm, damp environments (where HPV is often picked up) and by keeping the skin on the feet well-moisturised, so cracks don't develop through which the virus can enter the body.