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How to deal with plantar warts

Plantar warts are hardened, gritty outgrowths that develop on the heels or balls of the feet. The pressure causes the plantar warts to grow inwards below a hard and dense layer of the skin or callus.

Plantar warts can be caused by human papillomavirus or HPV which can enter the body through small breaks or cuts and other weak areas in the bottom of the feet and causes pain and discomfort.

Symptoms of plantar warts

  • Foot pain can be felt in the thickened part on the sole
  • A firm, warty or bumpy, rough and spongy lesions with small pinpoint dark spots inside the wart. The dark spots are minute and thrombosed capillaries or contain clots of bloods in the deep layers of the skin.
  • Gray-yellow or brown color smooth surface
  • Develops on areas of pressure on a bony point such as the ball and heel of the foot.
  • Several warts connect with each other and form mosaic warts
    Plantar wart

    Foot pain can be felt in the thickened part on the sole

  • Warts are usually flat due to the pressure
  • Pain and tenderness can be felt especially when walking or standing

If the lesions become painful, interferes with regular activities, symptoms still persist, multiplies and always recurring, it is best to seek medical help immediately.

Treatment

  • Place a doughnut-shaped piece of moleskin on the wart to provide temporary relief from the pain.
  • Soften the wart by soaking the affected area in warm water for several minutes. Using a pumice stone or nail file to scrub the excess skin off the top of the wart. Removing the top layer of the dead skin makes the pumice stone go deeper into the wart.
  • Use an over-the-counter salicylic acid preparation which is in the form of liquid, ointment, gel and pad. Soak the affected area in warm water for at least 5 minutes before applying the salicylic acid. Remove any loose tissue using a brush, emery board or wash cloth and dry thoroughly and file the overlying callus tissue so that the warts can be penetrated properly by the medication. Usually, the wart can be already eliminated in 2-3 weeks and if the treatment does not yield good results, seek medical help immediately.
  • Use a commercially prepared medication that contains 17% salicylic acid and 17% lactic acid which is a fast drying solution and applied every day after taking a shower. Dry the solution and cover it using a waterproof tape. Remove the tape after the next shower or bath. Pare the wart at least once a week using a sharp blade. With this method, it takes about months for the warts to clear.
  • Cut duct tape and place it over the top of the wart for at least 6 days to make the area dry. On the 7th day, remove the tape and soak the foot in warm water for at least 5 minutes to soften the dead skin on top of the wart. Use a pumice stone or nail file to scrub the top layers of the wart. Cover it again with a duct tape for another 6 days. This process last for about several weeks before the warts disappear.

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