Plantar warts are common warts that mostly occur on the soles or toes of the feet. Medically known as verrucae warts, these are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The virus mostly thrives in warm, moist places like locker room floors and swimming pools, where it attacks the skin at the bottom of the feet through direct contact. Those who have an opening or crack in their skin are more prone to contract the virus.
Anyone can develop plantar warts. However, children, people with weakened immune systems and people who have had plantar warts before are more prone to this problem.
Pain and tenderness while walking can be the initial symptoms of a plantar wart on your foot. Another sign of a plantar wart is a circular, flat spot on the skin with a depressed area in the middle. The wart may look yellow in color, with a crust or a black spot in the middle.
The pressure you put on the affected area while walking may cause the warts to grow inward beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus).
Most plantar warts are harmless and go away without treatment. But there are many home treatments that can lessen the symptoms and promote faster healing.
Before trying the remedies, keep in mind that you may need many repeated treatments before the wart goes away.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of plantar warts.
1. Duct Tape
Duct tape is a very effective remedy for plantar warts. Covering the wart with duct tape will cause it to shrink and disappear.
Plus, the irritation caused by the duct tape stimulates the immune system to respond and fight the cause of the problem – the virus.
- Soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes, then pat dry thoroughly.
- Cut a small piece of duct tape. It should be slightly larger than the size of the wart.
- Put the duct tape on the wart for 1 to 2 days.
- Every time you remove the tape, repeat the soaking process.
- Allow the skin to air out for a while, then put a new piece of duct tape on the area.
- Do this until the wart is completely gone, but not longer than 2 months.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works as a great plantar wart treatment. The acetic acid in it helps deal with the abnormal growth of skin tissue.
It also has antiviral properties, which means it can fight off the root cause of the problem.
- Dilute raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with an equal amount of water. Soak a cotton ball in it and apply it on the affected area. Then, cover the area with duct tape. Replace it once every few days until the plantar wart heals completely.
- Also, add 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it twice daily to help combat the virus from within.
3. Banana Peel
You can also use banana peel to get rid of painful plantar warts.
The enzymes in the banana peel helps soften the wart. When it’s softened, you can easily get rid of the wart by simply scrubbing it off with a pumice stone.
- Cut a piece of banana peel and tape it over the affected area.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, remove the peel and soak the affected area in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Then, scrub the area gently with a pumice stone.
- Wash the area and pat it dry.
- Apply some moisturizer.
- Do this daily until the wart is gone.
Instead of using the actual peel, you can scrape off the white interior of the banana peel and apply it on the affected area.
The antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic help in getting rid of plantar warts. Additionally, the caustic effect of the garlic restricts the breeding ground for warts, thus causing them to blister and fall off gradually.
Garlic also boosts your immunity, which is a good preventive measure for plantar warts.
- Crush some fresh garlic cloves and apply directly on the affected area. Use tape or a bandage to keep the garlic in place and leave it on overnight. The next morning, remove the bandage and clean the area with water. Pat dry and apply some moisturizer. Repeat this treatment once daily until the wart is gone.
- You can also take garlic orally by using it in your cooking or as a supplement. Always consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another good home remedy for plantar warts on your feet. Its antiviral and antiseptic properties help fight the virus that causes the warts.
- Mix 5 or 6 drops of tea tree oil in 1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil.
- Soak a cotton ball in the oil mixture.
- Put the cotton ball on the plantar wart and cover it with an adhesive bandage.
- Leave it on for a couple of hours.
- When you remove the oil-soaked cotton ball, rinse off your foot with warm water.
- Repeat twice daily for a few weeks.
Caution: Do not apply tea tree oil in its pure form, as it may cause skin irritation.
6. Castor Oil
Castor oil is another readily available ingredient that you can use to remove plantar warts. The ricinoleic acid in castor oil has anti-inflammatory and healing properties that help reduce the symptoms and speed up the healing process.
It also helps cut off the supply of air and moisture for the virus, the main cause of the warts.
- Before going to bed, soak a cotton ball in pure, cold-pressed castor oil. Put it on your wart and use tape to keep the cotton ball in place overnight. The next morning, clean the wart and soak it in warm water for a few minutes. Then, rub off the dead skin with a pumice stone. Repeat this remedy daily for a few days.
- Another option is to mix equal amounts of baking soda and castor oil together to form a paste. Apply it on the wart and cover the area with a bandage. Leave it on overnight, and remove the bandage the next morning. Repeat this remedy daily for a few days.
7. Colloidal Silver
Another effective remedy for plantar warts is colloidal silver. Being a potent antimicrobial agent, it helps kill the virus. The remedy works even better when combined with the duct tape method.
- Soak some colloidal silver on a cotton pad or cotton swab.
- Apply it on the affected area.
- Cover with a duct tape and leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, clean the area. You can also soak it in a tub of warm water mixed with a few tablespoons of Epsom salt for 15 minutes.
- Gently scrub with a pumice stone.
- Allow it to air dry then apply the colloidal silver again.
- Do this daily for a few weeks or until your plantar warts heal.
8. Aloe Vera
Another natural treatment for plantar warts is aloe vera. Its anti-inflammatory and healing properties can be very effective in treating warts.
Moreover, it keeps the affected area moisturized, which helps get rid of the outer layer of the skin easily.
- Cut a leaf off of your aloe vera plant and split the leaf in half.
- Cut out a piece big enough to cover the plantar wart.
- Put the aloe vera piece on the wart and use an ACE bandage to keep it in place overnight while you sleep.
- The next morning, remove it and after cleaning the area, apply a little aloe vera gel.
- Do this daily until the wart is gone.
The aspirin you use to treat your headaches is also effective at treating plantar warts.
The salicylic acid in aspirin irritates the skin and helps slough off infected tissue. This is turn helps get rid of the plantar wart quickly.
- Wash the affected area with lukewarm water.
- Use a pumice stone to file off the uppermost, dead skin cells.
- Crush a few aspirin tablets and add a little water to make a paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected area.
- Cover it with gauze and a bandage, and leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, remove the bandage and clean the area with water.
- Do this daily for a few weeks.
10. Lemon Essential Oil
Certain essential oils like lemon essential oil can also help get rid of plantar warts.
Being a strong antiseptic, this essential oil helps get rid of the virus that causes the warts.
- Apply a few drops of lemon essential oil on the plantar wart.
- Gently massage the area for a few minutes.
- Leave it on for a few hours. You do not need to rinse it off.
- Repeat twice daily for a few weeks.
You can also use other essential oils such as thyme oil or oregano oil on the affected area. Make sure to dilue a few drops of the essential oils in 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil. Apply 2 or 3 times daily for 2 or 3 weeks.
- Avoid direct contact with warts and wash your hands thoroughly after touching a wart.
- Keep your feet clean and dry all the time. After taking a shower or bath, thoroughly dry your feet and give special attention to the area in between your toes.
- Change your shoes and socks daily.
- Avoid walking barefoot around swimming pools and locker rooms.
- Never make the mistake of picking or scratching warts.
- Use a different emery board, pumice stone or nail clipper for your warts and for your healthy skin and nails.
- Avoid sharing personal items like towels and socks with others, as it may increase the chances of getting warts.
- If your feet sweat a lot, apply medicated foot powders in order to keep them dry and free from sweat.
- The easiest way for a virus to get into your skin is through cuts or wounds, so cover any cuts or absaions with a bandage.
- If you have plantar warts, cover them with an adhesive bandage while swimming.
- Always wear flip-flops when using public showers.
- You can also apply over-the-counter zinc ointment twice daily after cleaning the area with water. You can leave it on your skin for 30 minutes or more.
- Ask your doctor about getting the HPV vaccine, which may help prevent warts.