What you’ll find is that there’s a ton of advice online about what you should do (and not do) about foot warts (also known as plantar warts). Unfortunately, a lot of it is bad advice—or at the very least, recommendations that probably won’t hurt you, but also probably won’t help you either.
So, we thought we’d offer some friendly advice, straight from a foot and ankle expert! Let’s go through some of the most common questions we receive, starting with the most basic.
Do I Really Need to “Care” for My Plantar Warts at All?
It seems like a silly question, but it’s one a lot of people think about. After all, if the wart isn’t currently painful or bothering you, is it really worth investing time and energy into treatment?
The answer is a little complicated, but ultimately we do recommend that you treat your warts, even if they aren’t currently painful.
It is true that most warts do go away on their own, even without you doing anything special to care for them. However, that’s not necessarily something you want to rely on:
- Warts can take months or years to go away on their own (if they ever do)
- Warts can spread to other areas of your foot, or even your hand, through direct or indirect contact. So even if they aren’t bothering you now, that may not always be the case.
- It’s possible for warts to spread to other people in your family as well, for example by using shared shower facilities or skincare tools.
Ultimately it’s your call whether you want to treat your foot warts, but there are enough potential downsides to waiting that early intervention is almost always going to be the best decision, in our opinion.
Are There Any Home Remedies or Over-the-Counter Remedies That Work?
Unfortunately, the truth is that there is fairly limited evidence (in controlled studies) to support the effectiveness of any particular home remedies. Although there are many people who swear by “DIY” techniques such as the “duct tape method,” apple cider vinegar, and others, any “proof” that they work is more likely to be a simple coincidence. (That is, the wart was probably going away on its own regardless.)
Wart removal kits you buy over the counter have slightly better success rates generally, although they still often fail to fully eradicate the wart. Our office provides wart removal kits that are stronger than the kind you can get over the counter, and these would make a better “first attempt” strategy.
That said, if you are healthy and your warts aren’t bothering you, it’s ultimately your choice whether you want to attempt any home remedies first. Check out last month’s blog post for more info on one relatively safe strategy you can try (the aforementioned duct tape method), as well as warnings about home “solutions” you should definitely avoid (hint: don’t cut yourself!)
So If Home Remedies Don’t Work, What SHOULD I Do to Care for My Wart?
The best strategy for caring for warts is typically a combination of professional treatment (to get rid of the warts) and home care (to prevent warts from spreading or returning).
- Book an appointment with Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic. We have a variety of treatment options available, and can recommend an approach that is likely to give you good results while keeping any discomfort or inconvenience to a minimum.
- Avoid touching or picking at your warts. They can spread to your hands, or even from your hands to other parts of your body. If you must touch your warts, immediately wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
- Wash your feet daily. Good hygiene is critical.
- Change socks and shoes as often as necessary. This means at least once per day, but potentially more often if you sweat a lot. You should also let your shoes dry out for 24 hours before you wear them again—that means having at least two “daily” pairs that you can rotate between.
- Don’t go barefoot in high-traffic areas. This especially includes surfaces that are warm, dark, and wet—locker rooms, pool decks, showers, playgrounds, etc.
- Don’t share clothes, linens, or tools that come into close contact with your warts. For example: socks, shoes, sandals, pumice stones, nail clippers, washcloths and towels that haven’t been washed, etc.
Quick, Compassionate, Effective Wart Care at Freeland Foot & Ankle Clinic
As mentioned above, there are several professional treatment remedies to help get rid of pesky foot warts, including salicylic acid, liquid nitrogen, and excision. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, and the best approach for one person may not be the best approach for another.
So whether you’re struggling with only one or two small, irritating warts or several large and painful ones, give us a call. We’ll talk you through your options, help you select a method that makes sense for your situation, and support you through treatment and recovery. Whatever your situation, almost all foot warts can be cleared up in 2-4 short appointments with relatively minimal discomfort and required aftercare.
You can reach our office at (989) 695-6788, or by requesting an appointment online.