Understanding Plantar Warts -- Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on June 14, 2020

What Are the Treatments for Plantar Warts?

Deciding how to treat your plantar wart may depend on your ability to tolerate the pain of various treatments. Folk remedies for treating warts abound, and there is no single treatment that works every time. Softening of warts under prolonged duct tape occlusion is sometimes effective. Conventional treatment focuses on removal, while alternative approaches emphasize gradual remission. Whatever you do, do not try to cut off a plantar wart yourself because you may injure yourself and cuts in your skin allow the warts to spread.

Conventional Medicine for Plantar Warts

Your doctor may try applying topical solutions such as salicylic acid to eliminate the plantar warts. Such treatment may take several weeks to be effective. Burning, freezing with liquid nitrogen, laser therapy, and surgical removal, are more aggressive options for more severe conditions. In some cases, you doctor may try injections of bleomycin or 5 fluorouracil (chemotherapy drugs) or immune treatments such as injecting yeast into the wart or sensitizing a patient to DNCB (dinitrochlorobenzene).

Your doctor will also likely give you detailed instructions about how to care for your feet at home. Remember that moisturizing your feet will help heal dry skin cracks that allow warts to enter the top layers of your skin.

Over-the-Counter Medicine for Plantar Warts

Over-the-counter methods are only about 50% effective in treating plantar warts. They also include topical treatments with salicylic acid in the form of gels, ointments or lotion. This will cause the wart to gradually peel off over a few weeks.

A freezing spray is also available over-the-counter but it does not penetrate as deep as the doctor’s treatment.

Show Sources

American Academy of Family Physicians.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
The Mayo Clinic.

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