Plantar warts are very common. Many people mistake plantar warts for corns or calluses. Plantar warts are a viral infection in the skin which can cause a painful, thick area of skin on the bottom of the foot. Warts can also occur on the sides and top of the foot but are not classified as “plantar warts”. Most patients will try over the counter home remedies for plantar warts before consulting medical care. Some warts will easily respond to over the counter therapy, while others are more resistant. Plantar warts tend to be more resistant because the skin on the bottom of the foot is thicker than elsewhere on the body. This makes it difficult for topical OTC products to penetrate the skin and become effective. Warts do not have a” root” or “core” that can be dug out and are “only skin deep.” They do not go any deeper than the deepest layer of skin. Since warts are viral, there are many over the counter and home remedies. There is no one superior treatment for plantar warts. Even medical grade treatments such as liquid nitrogen (beetle juice) and surgical excision carry a risk of recurrence.
We can treat most warts with topical therapy every 2 weeks. In addition, patients will perform home therapy, which should gradually reduce the size of the wart and eventually resolve. Sometimes we need to use adjunctive therapy such as prescription Aldara cream or surgical excision of the wart. Most times warts can be treated successfully with topical therapy at home and in the office. If you have a suspicious skin lesion or something that is new on the skin that you are concerned about make sure to see your foot doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.