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How Can You Get Rid of Plantar Warts?

Many different home remedies can help you get rid of plantar warts on the feet. If one does not work, you might have success with another.
How Can You Get Rid of Plantar Warts?
Photo credit: happyfeet34 cc cropped

Plantar warts that appear on the soles of the feet (“foot warts”) can sometimes be stubborn. When they show up on the soles, toes or heels they can cause discomfort when a person is walking or running. Pressure causes the wart to grow inward. As a result, standing can become increasingly uncomfortable. Readers of our syndicated newspaper column and visitors to this website have come up with a number of ingenious treatments. What is the best way to get rid of plantar warts?

Getting Rid of Plantar Warts:

One reader asked this question:

Q. I suddenly realized that you are the perfect folks to help me out with my problem. I’ve had a wart on the bottom of my foot for about two years. It can be painful at times.

My doctor recommended the duct tape regimen, which I have done countless times, following the instructions very carefully. OTC Compound W was completely wrong, perhaps because the wart is abraded. I read that some people use lemon juice, but I’m unclear as to how to apply it. Whaddya got?

A. Wart remedies that work for some people can be totally ineffective for others. That’s also true for drugstore treatments. Trial and error may be your best strategy until you find the magic formula.

Another reader offered this:

“In the 1960s my teen-aged daughter got a severe case of plantar warts from the showers at school. She has a high pain tolerance and didn’t show them to us until she could hardly walk. The doctor she saw advised her to soak her feet in water as hot as she could stand 20 minutes a day for two weeks.

“In less than two weeks, most of the warts fell off or disappeared. She soaked her feet while watching TV or doing homework.”

This remedy was originally described in the Cleveland Clinic Quarterly (October, 1962).  The patients in the study were “treated” with water between 113 and 118 degrees F once or twice a week. Over half had good results.

What About Lemon Juice to Get Rid of Warts?

You asked about lemon juice. A reader stated:

“A friend of mine suggested squeezing fresh lemon juice on plantar warts three or four times a day. We had nothing to lose so we tried it. Those warts turned black and fell off so fast she was completely healed within four weeks.”

More Questions & Answers About Plantar Warts:

Q. I noticed a plantar wart on the ball of my foot two months ago. Salicylic acid plasters did not work. What home remedies could I try?

A. Readers suggest mixing turmeric with olive oil and applying a small amount to the wart under a waterproof bandage. Others have had success with a daily drop of tincture of iodine, tea tree oil, clear nail polish or peppermint oil.

Other Home Remedies to Get Rid of Plantar Warts:

Q. I get plantar warts on the soles of my feet. The doctor scrapes them, applies acid cream and covers them for 48 hours. They go away and then come back a few months later.

Help! How can I get rid of them without going back to the doctor?

A. We have collected several plantar wart remedies over the years. They include:

More on Hot Water for Plantar Warts:

Q. You have occasionally written about plantar warts. I have cured several of them (my own, my daughter’s and my sister-in-law’s) by soaking the area in hot salted water several times a day.

Details on Turmeric to Get Rid of Plantar Warts:

Q. After reading a column about turmeric for plantar warts, I began treating a very large wart that covered my entire heel. I am happy to report that it has stopped growing and is slowly healing. Thank you.

A. Other readers report success treating plantar warts with fresh or powdered turmeric. It will stain, however, so be careful to wear old socks. Other approaches include vinegar, duct tape or instant glue. Less common approaches include banana peel, grated ginger or eggplant.

FB reports:

“I’m in the middle of getting rid of a very stubborn and painful 6 year old plantar wart using a thick turmeric/olive oil mix. The pain has gone away and that the wart is shrinking. (I sand it down with a nail board every day.) Just for the relief of pain this is worth it!”

MJC took a different approach:

“I used essential oil of oregano and duct tape and removed my plantar wart. This was after suffering 2 painful liquid nitrogen treatments that didn’t work!”

Lemon juice is less popular but one reader reported success:

“Years ago my daughter had eight plantar warts on the bottoms of her feet. She could hardly walk and I tried everything to no avail.

“A friend of mine suggested squeezing fresh lemon juice on them three or four times a day. We had nothing to lose so we tried it. Those warts turned black and fell off so fast she was completely healed within four weeks. I hope this will help others.”

Banana peel may also work against plantar warts, as this reader found:

“I’ve had a plantar wart on the sole of my foot that is painful indeed. I am an RN, so I had one of the orthopedic docs look at it. Here is his suggestion: Eat a banana and cut a piece of the peel the size of the wart. Place it against the wart, inside of peel to skin. He said the greener bananas work a little better than the ripe.

“I taped the peel on my foot and changed it twice a day. I wore it through the night as well.

“Bananas work slowly. I was skeptical, but in about three weeks that wart disappeared and has never returned.”

Cara reported:

“I had plantar warts once when I was a young girl. My mother had me put glycerine on them then cover with a bandage. I did this for a few days. They came right off, and I’ve never had them since.”

Pam said:

“I’ve used fresh pineapple with excellent results. Cut off the pineapple skin, apply it overnight to the plantar wart with the fleshy side toward your foot like the banana peel example above. Save the peel in a ziplock in the fridge as you will need to reapply several nights in a row. It is easier to keep the pineapple skin in place if you apply a callous cushion so the plantar wart is centered in the hole, then fit the pineapple into that. Cover with a big bandage.”

Some readers have successfully used medications that are not generally used to get rid of plantar warts.

Caroline wrote about her young adult son, who had multiple plantar warts:

“A doctor prescribed Tagamet for a year, (CIMETIDINE 600mg). My son takes one in the morning and one in the evening with something to eat. He hates pills, but after he did the apple cider vinegar for about 6 months and the plantar warts remained, he was motivated.

“After starting on the Tagamet, we have started to see an improvement after one week. The warts on his hands are gone, and the plantar warts on his feet are also almost completely gone!

“They are simply dissolving, as though the body is turning the clock back. As the doctor said, warts are a symptom, not a cause. In order to get rid of plantar warts, one has to treat the cause, which is a virus in the system. Tagamet does that!”

NFB had a similar experience with a different medication:

“I have had many plantar warts for over 30 years on the bottom of my left foot. My largest wart was as big as a quarter. I have tried every treatment on this blog, except surgery, and nothing worked. In Jan of 2014 my doctor recently put me on pantoprazole for acid reflux. My warts melted away within 30 days and have not returned! It has been nothing short of miraculous.”

photo credit: happyfeet34 cc cropped

More details about wart remedies can be found at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com. Just search for plantar warts.  We also discuss wart remedies in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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