I think I might have a plantar wart. It started as a little bump about the size of a pinhead on the bottom of my foot that I kept picking at. It would leave a little hole that eventually filled up to become a little bump again. Lately though it has gotten pretty big. Help! – Mark T., via email.
Plantar warts are caused by the human papilloma virus, and are a pain to get rid of. And there’s no one treatment that works for everyone. Some advocate duct tape: wear it over the wart for several days and then apparently, it can be scraped up. Health nuts claim that garlic is very effective: crush fresh garlic and rub it on your wart for a week. Other folks recommend apple cider vinegar, but they’re probably the same people who recommend it for everything. For reliable advice, we went straight to the experts.
What The Doctors Say
“It’s important to differentiate if this is a wart or a corn/callus first. Picking can aggravate plantar warts; it is best to have a dermatologist freeze it off, or start with an anti-wart adhesive, since it sounds relatively minor. And talk to a chiropodist, as it may have been triggered by pressure/irritation from footwear. Best natural options would include topical tea tree oil, but warts can be pretty stubborn and require more intensive treatment.”
–Makoto Trotter, naturopathic doctor, Toronto www.zen-tai.com
“People pick up the virus when they are at a point of weakness in their health or if they have an open wound or sore. You can get warts around pools, from sharing shoes, gym locker rooms or from getting pedicures. Don’t go barefoot. There’s a homeopathic remedy called dulcamara that helps beat down the virus from the inside out. Oral vitamin A is helpful for boosting the immune system. Topical treatments all have salicylic acid and sometimes liquid nitrogen. Surgical therapy cuts the wart out. Warts on your hands are more superficial.”
–Robert Chelin, podiatrist, Toronto www.aestheticsinpodiatry.com
“If it doesn’t go away with self-treatment, you should see a dermatologist, as the lesions might need to be biopsied. There is a type of skin cancer that can mimic a wart. The wart resides at the bottom of the wart. When treating, the dead skin cells that sit on top should be removed to ensure that any treatment modality is more effective.”
–Lisa Kellett, dermatologist, Toronto www.dlkonavenue.com