The People's Perspective on Medicine

Can You Cure a Plantar Wart with Silver Nitrate?

Silver nitrate is an old-fashioned caustic compound that can be used to treat warts on the soles of the feet. It may leave a dark scar.
Photo credit: happyfeet34 cc cropped

Plantar warts are those that appear on the sole of the foot. They can become tender and make walking painful. Over the years, we have heard of many different home remedies to get rid of plantar warts. However, we had not heard of one old-fashioned approach, silver nitrate.

Silver Nitrate for Plantar Warts:

Q. Last year my podiatrist treated a plantar wart on the ball of my foot. I guess it was fairly new, as I had not noticed it. She used silver nitrate one time. The wart was completely gone within a week.

My daughter got silver nitrate sticks from my podiatrist to treat her plantar warts. It took several applications but worked within a few weeks. I have yet to meet a local doctor or pharmacist who has heard of this treatment. It leaves a dark stain during treatment but it’s painless.

A. Doctors sometimes use this agent to stop a nasty nosebleed (American Family Physician, Aug. 15, 2018).  We were not aware that podiatrists might use this compound to treat plantar warts. Upon searching, however, we found a study in which “Silver nitrate has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for verruca pedis [plantar wart], with equal success rates when compared between home and clinical applications” (International Journal of Pharmacy Practice, Dec. 2017).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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Would silver nitrate also work for a wart on the top of the hand or is that a different kind of wart?

It should work. Here is an (old, small) placebo-controlled trial:

My family doctor came to my home (yes, they used to do that) and told me to go to the pharmacy down the street and get a silver nitrate pencil. I did and came back and he showed me how to treat a PW. in about 2 weeks it was gone. This was 50 years ago at least, but then again my doctor was pretty extraordinary when it came to cool remedies like this.

Just pee on them… really! Hey, there is a science behind it – uric acid.

Went to a dermatologist who froze PW twice. Painful and $$$. Came back third tim and handled it myself. Never came back;) Where can silver nitrate be located?

When I was a young adult I developed several very painful plantar warts and had unsuccessful treatments by a doctor. So I read all I could find about them. One source said do not wear hard (wood) sole shoes. I had just purchased a popular brand of sandal before the outbreak so I stopped wearing them (with wood soles) and used an over-the-counter remed. Shortly the warts went away, never to return.

If you pee on them, they will go away…

I didn’t realize that some of my thickened toenails were because of fungus. The medical dr I saw said putting Vick’s Vapor Rub will cure this if I diligently rub on the infected nails for several weeks. He prescribed a medication for the fungus but I decided to give Vick’s a try first. I have not done it for several weeks yet but it’s already improving!

I had a Planters Wart, & had no idea what this was..
I was told to try this from comments I read in my IPad
1. Cleanse your foot completely.
2. Let dry
3. Place a piece of Silver Duct Tape over planters wart
Securely. Wear a loose thick loose sock to bed at
night. Keep tape secure on wart, change if it loosens.
It said the tape will smother the wart, & it will die..
Yes, it died after 3 or 4 days..Amazing!!
PS I did this, & it said “Make sure you use the “Silver Tape Only”

I had two silver nitrate treatments that were very painful, and it didn’t remove my plantar wart. So I tried using essential oil of oregano on the wart, covered by duct tape. In 2 weeks it was gone and left no evidence there had ever been a wart!

AND IT WASN’T PAINFUL!!! It was also cheap!

is this like a styptic(sp?) stick you see in the shaving section?

What’s used for callouses on inner little toes?

An old timer, do not remember if podiatrist or nat. doc, told
me to put medicinal foot powder between the toes and not
wear the tight fitting shoes till it was gone. It really worked!

I lived with a planters wart on one foot for years. I saw a dermatologist who told me to put this liquid on it available at all drug stores, and scrape it and it would go away. Six months later they are still there and growing inside my foot, twisting one of my toes!! I went and saw a podiatrist out of desperation. I had never been to one and wasn’t even sure if they were real doctors (e.g., chiropractors). Thank the Lord I saw one. He knew all about them. He put me on a different sort of medicine, applying it on 2-3 different occasions over a month or two. Presto! No more plantar’s wart, and never had another. Don’t mess around w/ it. Go to see a professional podiatrist!!!

I had some plantar warts as a child / teen. A remedy that worked but was a bit lengthy and combersome to apply was daily bathing in warm water with a large amount of salt diluted in it. The wart discappeared after a few weeks of this daily treatment.

When I was a freshman in college in 1970, I came down with plantar warts that I picked up from my roommate. My small town doctor who practiced by himself and had an incredible wealth of knowledge, treated them with silver nitrate, helping me to go back to college campus and walk the 4 to 5 miles every day to all my classes and to my sorority house. I had no car back then. Worked like a dream. He had to deaden my feet and cut out a few that were so deep and painful. My roommate ended up having major surgery on both her feet, they were so bad. She had no idea they could be spread!

I can attest that bathing while warts are present on your body easily spreads them to other areas of your body and spreads the virus all over the tub, making that bathing location a hot spot for other people to contract the virus, which is simply spread via contact with skin, and it can be intact skin, doesn’t have to be broken skin.

In the fifties I successfully treated my verrucas with a silver nitrate pen. Put it on every evening, soaked my feet, how often I do not remember, scraped off the dead skin, and applied more silver nitrate. My mother took me to a doctor, but he said I had already gotten rid of them.

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