Plantar Warts -- Causes and Top 10
Natural Remedies
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April 25, 2011, last updated June 3, 2012

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Are you embarrassed by your feet? Does every step remind
you of an unwanted visitor you’re dying to get rid of? It
sounds like you’ve got a wart. Warts can be found
anywhere on your skin. Plantar warts, technically known as
"verrucas", appear on the soles of your feet. The growths
are non-cancerous and can be rough and bumpy, spongy,
or thick and scaly. Some plantar warts have a cluster of
dark spots in the center. You’ll probably notice a plantar
wart’s arrival by the sensation of a lump underneath your
foot that you just can not shake. What causes plantar
warts and how can you prevent them? Are there any
natural remedies for plantar warts? How can you get rid of
persistent plantar warts?

No one likes to talk about them, but warts are very
common. According to the American Podiatric Medical
Association, plantar warts affect 1% to 2% of all Americans.

Warts generally are highly prevalent – around 50% of all
Americans will suffer a wart at some point in life. Plantar
warts affect children and young adults between the ages of
12 and 16 most frequently. You’re much more likely to be
affected if you share bathing areas with other people (if
you’re a student in dorms, a regular gym-goer or a child in
boarding school). Plantar warts can be unsightly, annoying
and painful.

Causes of Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are caused by the human papilloma virus
(HPV). This is the same virus that has been implicated in
cervical cancer. There are over 100 types of human
papilloma virus but only certain types cause warts on the
skin. Human papilloma virus affects only the surface layers
of the skin to produce the characteristic callus-like bump.

Be careful. Plantar warts are contagious and spread by
direct contact with viral particles. The riskiest places for
picking up plantar warts are at the swimming pool and in
communal showers.  

Warts may go away on their own. A 2006 report supported
by Michelle Lipke, a researcher from the Marshfield Clinic
Research Foundation, found that 23% of warts go away on
their own or shrink within 2 months, 30% regress within 3
months and 65% to 78% are gone within 2 years.

To lower your risk, use shower shoes or sandals when you’
re changing at the pool. Change your socks daily (and
never share them) and keep your feet clean and dry. And it
goes without saying, but don’t touch other people’s warts.
Don’t touch your own, if you can help it, because scratched
warts spread rapidly to other parts of the body.

Most plantar warts go away by themselves – eventually.
Most are harmless but some plantar warts become painful
and having a bunch of them on your feet may make it
difficult to walk or run. What can you do to get rid of
plantar warts? Are any natural remedies effective in
removing plantar warts? We’ve looked at the available
scientific research to come up with 10 wart-busting natural

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Plantar Warts

1. Duct Tape Treats Plantar Warts

Sometimes the simple remedies are the best. This one is
cheap and, according to many experts, effective at treating
plantar warts. Buy duct tape from hardware stores. Cut a
small piece and stick it firmly over the plantar wart. Keep
the plantar wart covered for six days, then remove the
tape. Soak your foot in warm water and gently remove any
dead cells with an emery board or a pumice stone. Leave
the plantar wart dry and uncovered overnight, then reapply
the tape in the morning and repeat the process. It may take
up to two months for the wart to completely disappear. A
2002 study from the Children's Hospital Medical Center,
Cincinnati confirmed duct tape therapy was significantly
more effective than cryotherapy (freezing the wart with
liquid nitrogen) for treating warts.

Stimulate The Immune System to Beat Plantar Warts

A different approach to treating plantar warts focuses on
stimulating the immune system to destroy the wart from

The proliferation of warts is controlled by the immune
system, which has been attacked by the human papilloma
virus. Nutrients and vitamins, like Vitamin C, that help the
immune system are recommended but have not been tested
specifically on warts.

One 2005 study from the University of Arkansas for Medical
Sciences, Little Rock found injecting skin test allergens (the
mixtures used to test for allergic reactions) into the wart
stimulated the immune system and treated the wart. The
scientists also discovered that patients who responded to
treatment had a successful immune response to the human
papilloma virus.

Does Zinc Treat Plantar Warts?

Zinc is one of the most effective remedies for plantar warts.
In an attempt to stimulate the immune system, many
people try zinc to fight viruses. One 2002 study from
Baghdad Teaching Hospital, Baghdad, Iraq tried
administering 10 mg of zinc orally up to 600 mg a day (a
high dose of the mineral) and found zinc removed warts in
86.9% of patients after two months and 60.9% after one

Echinacea Helps Plantar Warts

Another reputed immune system-raising supplement is
echinacea. Echinacea, and propolis, were shown to cure
warts in 75 percent of patients according to a 2009 study
from Assiut University, Assiut, Egypt. Echinacea has
antiviral properties which may work on the human
papilloma virus.

Marigold Therapy Helps Treat Plantar Warts

According to a 2008 study from the Temple University
School of Podiatric Medicine, extracts of the marigold plant
treat plantar warts. Marigolds have a long history of
helping treat ailments from sleep disorders to headaches
and skin problems. When mixed into a phytotherapy
remedy Marigold Therapy is claimed to clear or reduce the
number and size of warts in four to six sessions.

Fig Tree Resin Helps Treat Plantar Warts?

Fig tree latex is a common traditional method for treating
warts in rural areas of Iran. Does the treatment work
scientifically? A 2007 study from Ardabil University of
Medical Sciences, Ardabil, Iran found fig tree therapy was
slightly less effective than treating warts than cryotherapy
but that there were no side-effects and the remedy treated
44 percent of the patients successfully.

Hypnosis Helps Plantar Warts Disappear

Hypnosis, the power of suggestion for therapeutic benefit,
has been suggested as a treatment for warts. According to
a 1988 and a 1990 study from Carleton University, Ottawa,
Canada patients receiving hypnotic suggestion
demonstrated more wart regression than those given either
a placebo treatment or no treatment. In another 2002
study from University of the Saarland, Homburg/Saar,
Germany nine children with warts on the hands and/ or the
feet were treated with a simulated X-ray treatment. Five
children experienced the complete regression of their warts
and three had a partial regression after an average of three
treatment sessions.

Does Smoke From Burnt Leaves Destroy Warts?

Sounds strange but smoke can actually help remove plantar
warts.  Smoke from the burning leaves of the Populus
euphratica tree, belonging to the Salicaceae family, is said
to treat warts.

A 2008 study from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences,
Shiraz, Iran showed smoke therapy was equally as
effective as a treatment for hand and foot warts as

Tea Tree Oil Can Remove Plantar Warts

Tea tree oil applied to the plantar wart once or twice daily
may help remove the wart. A 2008 study from Belfast City
Hospital, Belfast, Northern Ireland showed a once-daily
application of tea tree oil to hand warts caused complete
regression of the wart. However, the study was small and
tea tree oil would benefit from further investigation.

Homeopathy For Plantar Warts

Homeopathy is traditionally used to treat plantar warts but
the evidence for this natural treatment is
not conclusive.
One 1992 trial from the Department of Family Medicine,
Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, France tested a homeopathy
remedy consisting of one tube of Thuja 30c weekly, five
pellets of Antimonium crudum 7c daily, and one tube of
Nitric acidum 7c daily, for six weeks. The results, however,
were not encouraging enough to mark this treatment as a
good option for treating plantar warts. Another 1996 trial
from the University of Graz, Austria found homeopathic
treatment was no better than placebo for warts on the

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