Sandal season is here! For those who suffer with plantar warts however, this isn’t doesn’t mean it’s time to show off your newest pedicure, instead, it means more pain and embarrassment. Plantar warts are easily spread, especially when places are damp such as pools and locker can spread easily, especially in damp places like pools and locker rooms where feet are exposed.
There is a strain of the human papillomavirus, or HPV that is behind these warts. Even though they won’t cause serious health issues, they can be painful and also hard to get rid of. In the Wall Street Journal, Mark Kaufmann, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York shares some surprising remedies.
Who tends to get plantar warts?
It’s unpredictable. Some people who go barefoot might not get warts, while those who take precautions could wind up with them. Some warts go away without treatment while others don’t respond to much of anything. It all depends on the type of immune response your body puts out, says Dr. Kaufmann. That is why some people think that boosting your body’s immune system with vitamins could make a difference. He says no one knows if vitamins really help, and if you are prone to get plantar warts, even wearing flip flops in the shower might not spare you.
What home remedies are worth trying?
Dr. Kaufmann swears by covering a wart with duct tape until the tape falls off, typically after 12 to 24 hours. “Duct tape has dermatologists amazed,” he says. There is no strong evidence to suggest why it might work other than the idea that it covers the wart so tightly that the virus can’t thrive and spread.
Salicylic acid-based products, which can involve pre-soaked pads available at most drugstores, can be successful, says Dr. Kaufmann. He says he has his patients put them on once a day until the warts are gone, which could be two weeks to six months. To help speed the treatment, try scraping the wart off with a pumice stone.
Using harsher materials, such as bleach, isn’t recommended because it could be too destructive to the skin, says Dr. Kaufmann.
When would you consult a doctor?
Dr. Kaufmann suggests all patients consult their doctor before trying home remedies, especially people with health conditions such as diabetes that leave feet susceptible to injury.
For those with stubborn warts, some doctor’s office remedies might do the trick—but Dr. Kaufmann cautions that nothing is going to work on every patient 100% of the time. “Every patient—and sometimes every wart—responds differently,” he says.
Surgical options such as freezing the wart off the foot or burning it with a laser “are very painful,” Dr. Kaufmann says. But these techniques generally work. Insurance might cover wart removal but the procedure could be susceptible to a separate surgical deductible.
A couple off-label treatments are gaining favor with doctors, says Dr. Kaufmann. One is applying prescription-strength genital wart cream to a plantars wart and covering it with duct tape. Another is injecting the wart with a chemotherapy drug called bleomycin, which should be used as “a last resort.
Source: Wall Street Journal