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Poison Painful Plantar Warts With Peculiar Remedies

Plantar warts on the sole of the foot can be quite difficult to treat. They can also make walking pretty painful. No wonder people are enthusiastic about some strange remedies, so long as they work.

Trouble Treating Plantar Warts:

Q. I have a large plantar wart on the big toe of my left foot. I have had it treated twice, once with liquid nitrogen and another time with a medication that turned it into a large blister. A dermatologist performed these procedures.

Despite these treatments the wart comes back and is quite large now. The callous over it is about the size of a quarter. I would go back to the doctor multiple times to have it treated, but the blisters he causes are so painful I cannot walk.

I need a remedy to remove it that will still let me be on my feet because I need to work and also train for cross-country running this summer. I would like a recommendation of what I should use to remove the wart from my foot.

Strange Remedies for Plantar Warts:

A. Plantar warts can be notoriously hard to get rid of, even with prescription regimens like those you have already gone through. We make no promises about any of the remedies that others have used. All we can say is that some people do get benefit from such approaches. Here are some stories that may be of benefit.

We first heard about topical turmeric over five years ago:

“My daughter had three stubborn warts on the bottom of her foot that hurt her terribly. We tried salicylic acid tape from the pharmacy. It always burned off all the good skin and left the wart intact. Duct tape didn’t work, and neither did freezing them off at the doctor’s office. They kept coming back. I made a paste of fresh-scraped turmeric root and taped it on the warts. The warts were completely gone in three applications. Bright pink fresh smooth skin grew in the black-specked holes left behind after the bandage was removed. After they fell off following the turmeric treatment, the warts never came back. I bought the turmeric from the health food store and scraped off some. I taped a little lump the size of a pea on each wart and changed it each night. (I had her wear a sock to bed. Turmeric is neon yellow and stains bedding.) I have no idea why it works, but someone at work said it worked for him.”

We did discover that curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, has antiviral activity (Virology, online, Jan. 14, 2008). Whether that explains the mechanism is not clear.

Here is a more recent story about turmeric:

“After six procedures in just over two years to remove five warts from my foot, three remained. I tried the turmeric, mixed it with olive oil, applied to foot. It made a mess, got all over my socks, sheets and floor but IT WORKED! I am thrilled, and the podiatry clinic is amazed. It took about three weeks, and I could tell one was gone, but it took scraping the callus to see that the other two were gone too.”

Susan offered a different story:

“My son is now 26 but suffered from severe plantar warts on the ball of his foot that spread and rooted under all of his toes. I know the picture on this site is nasty but my son’s foot was covered with those hard painful warts over nearly half of his upper foot. We tried everything, including having the podiatrist freezing and cutting weekly and all of the salicylic stuff. He would scream and cry when we had to go get it cut weekly and eventually he refused to go to the doctor’s office. The doctor said he could lose his whole foot due to the severity of the wart infection. The same doctor said we could try Tagamet (cimetidine). As a nurse I thought this was crazy but tried it and after years of those nasty warts they quickly disappeared with Tagamet 2 times daily. It only took about 2 months. I was amazed. My other two girls have had regular warts and they took Tagamet and it worked for them also. Tagamet is the only thing that has ever cured my kids warts.”

Debbie has a take from the health care perspective:

“I am a pediatric nurse and my niece had numerous huge warts that her mother had tried everything to get rid of. Nothing worked. When her mother ask me if there was anything that I would recommend I spoke with one of my doctors and we tried a dose of the Tagamet with her twice a day. She was not on it for long before her mom said it was like they just disappeared. She said she had never seen anything like it. I was amazed because I had never seen such a mass of warts like she had and the next time I saw her they were just a smooth as they could be. It was amazing. I don’t know if it works like that every time, but it sure did for her.”

Another nurse also suggested an unusual remedy:

“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.”

We have been collecting wart remedies for over 35 years. In The People’s Pharmacy (published originally in 1976), we suggested soaking the warts in a salt water solution (30%) or taking desiccated liver tablets orally. Since then we have collected dozens of other remedies that people insist are sure-fire cures.

Nothing works for everyone, but many visitors to this website insist that squeezing fresh lemon juice on warts three or four times a day is helpful. Others maintain that vinegar soaks will do the job. We also have heard from people who insist that applying castor oil on the wart a few times daily cures warts. Share your own favorite wart remedy below.

If you love home remedies as much as we do, you will want to know that we have collected many of our favorite wart remedies in our book from National Geographic, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies. In addition to wart remedies we have something for almost anything that ails you.

Let food be your medicine!

photo credit: happyfeet34 cc cropped

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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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