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a blog post from a podiatrist how to get rid of warts on your feet at home

How To Get Rid Of Warts On Your Feet At Home

If you have warts on your feet that you’re embarrassed about, you’re not alone. 

Here, our podiatrists are going to show you how to get rid of warts on your feet at home.

You might want to do this because you’re sick of wearing thongs on your feet when you’re in the shower. Or maybe because you’re tired of covering your feet up when you just wish you could wear those nice sandals to a summer barbeque. And just maybe, your warts are underneath the weight-bearing areas of your feet and are getting sore.

Whatever your reason to want to get rid of warts on your feet, you need to know a few things about your enemy first.

different types of warts on your feet

Unfortunately, not everyone can get rid of their warts as they make the mistake of thinking it’s a wart when it’s actually a corn or callus. Or, they give up treatment after only 1 week. There’s no quick fixes here, you do need to be consistent.

The warts on your feet are caused by a very stubborn and contagious virus.

And when you’re dealing with a virus – there are not many actual “cures”.

Think of every virus you know, whether it be the coronavirus, the common cold virus or any of those ultra-nasty ones. What do they have in common? The treatments are all about prevention via either vaccines or avoiding the virus in the first place. When it comes to the actual treatment of the virus once it’s inside you there are a lot fewer options. 

These options are very similar to how you get rid of warts on your feet at home too. You need to get your immune system up and running and tackle the virus head (or feet) on.

So, here’s a method to get rid of warts on your feet at home by engaging your immune response.

But first – a word of warning. This is general advice only, it’s written by a podiatrist but it is not specific to you. You should get personal advice from your health professional before starting any at-home treatments to be aware of the risks associated with you.

Also, this treatment protocol was first introduced to us by Podiatrist Joseph Frenkel from heel me. Joseph is an exceptional podiatrist and colleague from La Trobe University. He has a passion for all things dermatological and feet and also runs training courses for podiatrists as well.

podiatrist advice how to treat warts on your feet at home with vitamin A

Step 1: Purchase some Vitamin A capsules

Yes, high dose Vitamin A capsules but don’t start swallowing them.

Vitamin A is a type of retinoid. Retinoids regulate epithelial cell differentiation and keratin growth. Fancy science words that mean they influence how your skin grows. When you have a wart, the virus tricks your skin into growing into a mutant version of you… that white, cauliflower-looking tissue that we know as a wart (or papilloma or verruca).

You’ll need high-strength vitamin A (25,000 IU) in a gel capsule which in Australia you’ll need to buy online. You can find them on Amazon here for between $20 to $30.

Step 2: Put the Vitamin A liquid on your wart

Now, you’ll need to be careful to prick open the capsule without cutting yourself. 

Use a sharp pair of scissors and gently cut or prick the edge of a capsule. Now, squeeze that Vitamin A oil directly onto the wart on your feet. You’ll want to be careful not to get it everywhere but a little around the wart is pretty safe.

Allow it to dry for a minute or two and then cover it with an occlusive dressing like a bandaid. If you keep the rest of the capsule depending on the size or number of warts on your feet it will probably last you 2-3 applications.

A good time to do this is just before bed so you aren’t going to be walking around on it all day. Wash your hands well after doing this too.

Step 3: Repeat!

You’ll need to repeat this process every 2nd day for some time. 

For large, stubborn warts on the thick areas of your feet (ball of your foot or heel), it’s likely going to take up to 3-4 months. For smaller warts on thinner skin like your toes, it will be quicker in the 2 months or so range.

But remember, treatment times vary depending on how well your immune system recognises the virus as a “bad guy” and starts fighting it. 

What else can you do for your warts on your feet?

To speed things up you can see your podiatrist for debridement and preparation of your warts on your feet ready for treatment.

This will usually involve careful sharp debridement with a scalpel (a non-painful, superficial “shaving” like action) of callus or non-viable tissue that grows on top of your warts. Your podiatrist may elect to kick-start things with a treatment of Salicylic Acid. A naturally occurring agent (you make it in your sweat) which when used in a higher dose can trigger an immune response.

Regular debridement during treatment can also ensure that your Vitamin A retinoids actually get into the wart itself and not just stuck on extra layers of thick skin.

What about dietary supplements for warts on your feet?

Now we’re getting a little outside the scope of a podiatrist but there is some evidence that if you’re low in Zinc, oral supplementation will help you get rid of your warts.

In a small trial, they found that 87% of patients who took oral Zinc supplements had complete clearance of their warts after 2 months and 61% after only 1 month. 13% failed to improve at all.

They contrasted this with a placebo group where 0 patients’ warts resolved during the trial.

Make of that what you will.

In Summary

When you’re uncomfortable or embarrassed about plantar warts on your feet you can treat them at home or in combination with treatment at your podiatrist.

  • You’ll need to be consistent over some time as getting rid of warts involves your immune system winning a big battle over the virus that causes warts. 
  • You should see your podiatrist for a specific, personal plan for your needs and to kick-start your wart fight. (And to ensure it’s actually a wart and not a corn).
  • Topical vitamin A and oral Zinc are considered quite safe and accessible at-home treatments for warts on your feet.

About the Author

tim mulholland podiatrist melbourne and pascoe vale

Tim Mulholland is a podiatrist who’s spent years working in Melbourne and our Pascoe Vale podiatry clinic. He’s not ashamed to admit that like most Aussies, he’s suffered with a wart on his foot before too which he thinks he picked up in the communal showers after footy. You should always wear thongs in that environment and well, a lesson learned for Tim.