If you have ever experienced a hard, grainy growth on the bottom of your feet that feel uncomfortable or painful, you will be familiar with plantar warts. These are warts that grow on the bottom of the foot (commonly on the heel or ball). They appear as hard and grainy growths and can appear alone, or in a group (called mosaic warts). The term plantar warts is made up of two words – plantar, which refers to the sole of the foot; and warts, which are benign, small, rough, hard, thick growths on the surface of the skin. These are often confused with corns or callus, which are just layers of dead skin. Plantar warts are not dangerous, but they are caused by a viral infection and become painful when they grow within a callus. Homeopathic medicine for plantar warts helps reduce the intensity of symptoms associated with warts and shrinks the growths over a period.
Difference between Plantar warts and Corns:
1. Warts can appear anywhere on the sole of the foot while corns usually appear on the points of friction on the foot.
2. Corns do not itch or bleed while warts tend to do so.
3. There is no pain felt upon pinching a corn, but plantar warts are painful when pinched.
4. Corns are not contagious, while plantar warts are highly infectious.
Homeopathic Treatment for Plantar Warts
Homeopathic treatment for plantar warts involves boosting the immune system to fight the viral infection causing the condition. Homeopathic medicines work to shrink already existing warts while simultaneously preventing the appearance of new ones.
These medicines help ease the pain and tenderness caused by warts and also eliminate the need for painful surgical intervention.
1. Thuja Occidentalis – For Plantar Warts with Discolouration
Thuja Occidentalis is a medicine derived from the white-cedar or ‘Arborvitae’ (which means the tree of life), from the plant family Cupressaceae. It is a North American tree with leaves that give out an aromatic odor. In the conventional system of medicine, it is used as an astringent, diuretic and expectorant. It contains volatile oil, tannic acid and a small amount of glucoside known as Thujin. Clinically it has shown remarkable results as a homeopathic medicine for plantar warts. The dosage of Thuja for warts is given on the basis of symptoms like large, pedunculated warts. These are usually the size of poppy seeds and may have discharges and ooze moisture. Associated itching and burning of the skin may also be present. This remedy is useful in cases where warts bleed easily, and the skin becomes dirty and unhealthy-looking with brownish discoloration. Increased and offensive sweating on the toes is another symptom.
Key Indications to use Thuja for Warts:
- Large, pedunculated warts
- Bleeding warts
2. Causticum – Top Natural Medicine for Plantar Warts
Causticum is a weak solution of Potassium Hydrate (an inorganic compound commonly known as caustic potash) that contains varying amounts of water and carbonates. Causticum is used to treat warts that are small, non-pedunculated and ooze moisture. It is also recommended for individuals who tend to develop warts on different parts of the body. The warts bleed easily, and the skin tends to have a marble-like appearance. The may also be a pricking sensation as of being touched by the icicle. The skin tends to itch and can have a yellow-looking appearance.
Key Indications to use Causticum for Warts:
- Small Warts
- Prickling sensation
- Yellowish skin
3. Antimonium Crudum – Top Remedy for Plantar Warts
Antimonium Crudum is a sulfide of antimony (a mineral) found in various parts of Europe (mainly France and Germany) and the United States. In ancient times, the antimony compound was used in medicines and cosmetics (for dyeing hair and eyebrows). Antimonium Crudum is a medicine used for plantar warts that are smooth and soft to touch. There may be itching, and the skin may become sore and painful upon scratching. Areas of small ulceration are often seen around the wart, along with oozing of a greenish pus-like fluid. In some cases, abnormal enlargements in the form of horny excrescences, where warts become thick and a hard scab forms over them.
Key indications to use Antimonium Crudum for Warts:
- Smooth, soft warts
- Horny excrescences
Other important homeopathic medicines for plantar warts include:
4. Dulcamara – For Planar Warts with Crust
Commonly known as “bittersweet,” Dulcamara is used to treat plantar warts that are large, fleshy and smooth. There is a formation of thick crust on warts along with a burning and itching sensation on the skin that feels like small insects were crawling upon it. It is used to treat both dry warts or warts with oozing liquid discharges. They tend to get worse during damp, cold weather.
5. Nitric Acidum – For Plantar Warts that Bleed Easily
Nitric Scidum is prepared from a corrosive and colorless mineral acid called Nitric Acid. It is more commonly known as Aqua Fortis (strong water). Introduced by the father of homeopathy, Dr. Hahnemann, it is used to treat warts that bleed easily upon the slightest touch. Other symptoms include splinter-like pain, burning sensation that gets worse on contact with cold water, an irregular, zig-zag shape of warts or raised edges, and a tendency to develop recurrent plantar warts.
6. Natrum Mur – For Plantar Warts with Hard Skin
Natrum Mur is prepared with a substance found in every household – ‘table salt.’ Also known as Chloride of sodium, it is present in almost all the tissues of our body and especially in aqueous humor of the eyes. This medicine is indicated in cases of plantar warts where the skin becomes hard, dry and parchment-like. It looks dirty and may itch and prickle. Other symptoms include a crawling sensation in the feet and profuse sweating.
Causes of Plantar Warts
Warts occur due to a viral infection of HPV – human papillomavirus. All strains of HPV do not cause plantar warts; only a few kinds lead to plantar warts while the rest cause warts on other areas of the body. The most common HPV strains that lead to plantar warts include HPV 57 and HPV 27. HPV can enter the body through a cut or break in the skin on the bottom of the foot. Homeopathic treatment for plantar warts works by gradually shrinking existing warts while preventing new growths.
Plantar Warts: Causes and Risk Factors
A weak immune system, walking barefoot on the floor, and a break/cut in the skin on the bottom of the foot are the most general risk factors that can cause plantar warts. Plantar warts can develop at any age; however, children between the ages of 12 to 16 years are more susceptible.
Plantar warts are contagious and can spread quickly in two ways – first by skin contact, and secondly through contact with a contaminated surface. These infectious lesions also tend to spread by like a blanket or doorknob. Since plantar warts are contagious lesions, they also spread by scratching or when the skin shed from another wart comes in contact with the body. In case there is bleeding from warts, the blood can also spread the infection.
Plantar Warts: Signs and Symptoms
The most common symptom of a plantar wart is the feeling of having something stuck under the foot. While plantar warts and calluses may feel the same, a plantar wart will hurt when squeezed.
Some other signs of plantar warts include:
- They can be Painful – Plantar warts appear as growths on the bottom of the foot, so the normal contours of the skin on foot get interrupted. Since they develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot (heel, the base of toes, forefoot) they may become painful while standing and walking.
- Pricking Sensation – Plantar warts can cause a prickling sensation under the foot, similar to having a thorn or stone inside a shoe.
- Black Dots – Warts can appear as small bumpy growths and tiny black dots (called wart seeds). These tend to appear on the surface of warts.
Plantar Warts: Management
Plantar warts are highly contagious, and they spread very quickly. Certain measures can be taken to help reduce the chances of developing plantar warts:
- Avoiding contact with anybody having a plantar wart.
- Maintaining proper hygiene, especially on the feet by following practices such as washing the feet thoroughly with soap (or any disinfectant).
- Wearing fresh socks every day, or as necessary.
- Avoiding sharing or wearing public shoes available at places like the pool, sports arenas, gymnasiums, etc.
- Avoiding walking barefoot in the public areas like gyms, pools, common shower areas, etc. where the chances of contracting the virus are high.
- Avoiding repetition of activities that produce too much friction on the pressure areas of the foot.
- In case a wart develops, it should not be brushed, cut, shaved or clipped.