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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.

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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