Plantar warts are small, non-cancerous growths that appear on the bottom of the foot. Warts are viral, caused by the HPV virus. Some plantar warts go away on their own, while others require treatment. Salicylic acid medications and cryotherapy (freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen) are traditional ways to get rid of plantar warts. Covering the warts with duct tape is an alternative method of treatment that has been proven effective.
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In 2002, "The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine" reported the results of a study performed at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington state. Eighty-five percent of people treated with duct tape showed a complete resolution of their warts after the treatment period. Traditional treatments such as cryotherapy showed a 60 percent rate of healing.
Warts are covered with duct tape for six days, at which point the tape is removed. The second step of the duct tape treatment includes soaking the foot in warm water and filing down the wart to remove dead or loosened skin. After leaving the warts free of tape overnight, the tape is reapplied for another six-day treatment period.
Length of Treatment
The study performed at the Madigan Army Medical Center showed "partial resolution" when the duct tape treatment was used for two to three weeks. The American Academy of Family Physicians explains that plantar warts can be treated with duct tape for up to eight weeks.
The Mayo Clinic explains that medical experts believe that the duct tape irritates the skin that surrounds the warts. When the skin becomes irritated, the immune system tries to fight the foreign object (the tape) and helps heal the warts.
Duct tape is a practical solution for those who have plantar warts, since the materials are inexpensive and widely available. Medical knowledge is not needed to be able to cure plantar warts through the duct tape method.