Call your doctor if simple home therapy fails to resolve the problem. Usually a primary care doctor can adequately treat plantar warts. If treatment under a physician's care fails to work satisfactorily, a referral to a dermatologist (a skin specialist) may be necessary.
Warts will appear over a relatively short period of time in an area where no callus tissue has been noted before. Corns and calluses usually develop very gradually over several years. It is wise to consult a physician when you are unsure whether you have a plantar wart or another condition, such as a corn, callus, mole, or skin lesion.
Most such growths are harmless, but some can become cancerous. It is also possible for a variety of more serious lesions to appear on the foot, including malignant lesions such as carcinomas and melanomas. Although rare, these conditions can sometimes be misidentified as a wart.
Seek medical attention for these conditions:
Plantar warts are rarely an emergency; however, the complications of aggressive therapy can be. Bleeding, severe pain, inability to walk, redness, swelling, streaking, and boil or abscess formation can all indicate an emergency.
Warts generally go away on their own within months or years. Because of the discomfort associated with plantar warts, removing them is usually the best course of action.
To remove warts yourself, you may try home treatments usually applied directly to the wart. Note that all of these methods can take considerable time to work, often months. Treatment should continue until the wart has disappeared or complications such as pain or infection occur.
To kill the wart, apply an over-the-counter salicylic acid preparation, available at the pharmacy in liquid, gel, pad, or ointment. Some familiar brand names are
Dr. Scholl's Wart Remover, Compound W, Free zone, and Wart-Off. Be sure to follow package directions because over application of these products can burn the skin. Periodically sand and re-treat the wart. It can take several months to get rid of a large one. Warts can spread, so monitor your feet closely and treat warts when they are small.
In general, you should see improvement in 1-2 weeks. If such treatment does not yield results after several weeks, you should see your doctor for more aggressive methods of wart removal.
The prolonged use of this
medications is not recommended, especially in infants, people with diabetes , and others with impaired circulation.
Do not use salicylic acid on moles, birthmarks, or warts with hair growing from them, genital or facial warts, or warts on mucous membranes, irritated skin, or any area that is infected or reddened.
A commercial preparation containing about 17% salicylic acid and 17% lactic acid in a fast-drying solution (for example, Duo film or Dermatitis Wart Treatment) is applied daily after showering. The preparation is allowed to dry and the wart covered with waterproof tape, which is removed after the next shower or bath. You can pare the wart once a week with a sharp blade (or a family member can do it for you). It may take many months to clear the wart with this method.
A mixture of 20% Formalin in aqueous solution, available by prescription, is applied daily after showering. The wart is pared once a week with a sharp blade. It may take many months to clear the wart.
Hot water or hyperthermia treatment
The affected area is immersed in hot water for 90 minutes daily. It may take many months to clear the wart.
Another option is to apply vitamin A once a day by breaking open a capsule and squeezing the liquid onto the wart. It can take anywhere from 1-9 months for warts to disappear using this method.
Follow your physician's directions. Overuse of prescribed medicines can lead to damaging results.
Regardless of the home treatment or medical treatment used, a cure is not guaranteed. Warts may reappear at any time. Most therapies require several treatments and strict adherence to them. Work with your doctor or dermatologist to determine which therapy is right for you.
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