Depending on where you live, and perhaps what age group you are in, you may hear of verrucas being referred to as ‘planters warts’. The medical term for the affliction is verruca plantaris which is the name for warts on the soles of the feet caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). At times the verrucas manifest on the toes but when warts caused by HPV are anywhere else on the body they are not verrucas or plantars warts, although the treatment may be similar. There are medical, pharmaceutical and naturopathic treatments for verrucas and it is up to the individual which of the remedies he or she would like to pursue when considering how to get rid of verrucas.
A Closer Look at Verrucas
Verrucas are described as being self limiting, which means that the virus causing the warts may at some point self limit the duration, size or spread of the outbreak. However, verrucas are also never really ‘cured’ as the virus will be dormant in the system and the person suffering from plantars warts may experience another outbreak at any given time. Symptomatically, verrucas present themselves as painful warts that can be distinguished from other warts or afflictions in two main ways.
First of all, you can identify a verruca by examining the striations in the skin on and around the wart. If the striations go through the area, it is not a verruca since the DNA has not been altered. If verruca plantaris is present, the striations will not go through the area and secondly there will also be a small black hemorrhage (petechiae) near the center. A verruca is usually painful when pressure is applied from the sides pushing inwards as opposed to direct pressure on the lesion.
Pharmaceutical and Medical Intervention
Infrequently medical intervention is called for which would include surgical removal, cryosurgery (the wart being ‘frozen off’) and/or a combination of surgical and pharmaceutical procedures. When treated by a physician, pharmaceuticals that are commonly employed would be Bleomycin, intralesional immunotherapy and pulse laser dyes. Even with the most expensive medical procedures, the HPV will undoubtedly lay dormant in the system and may present itself at some future date.
There are a number of OTC pharmaceutical treatments which have been used over the years to lessen the severity of an outbreak, but here again, these treatments are only a ‘temporary fix’ as the virus is still in the system. As there is no cure for the human papillomavirus that causes the outbreak, formulations with OTC products containing salicylic acid can only treat the current outbreak.
Natural and Home Remedies for Verrucas
Growing numbers of people are opting for natural remedies for conditions such as plantars warts. When asking how to get rid of verrucas, it should be understood that there is no guarantee that the warts will not present at some point and this is why they choose not to use potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals. Over the years a number of naturopathic remedies have been found to effectively treat verrucas, one of which is vinegar! Place a cotton ball soaked in vinegar on the wart and leave it over night. Some people place a banana peel over the lesions while others use tea tree oil. However, it should be noted that tea tree oil should never be taken internally. The word ‘tea’ in the name is misleading and it should be understood that tea tree oil is extremely toxic if ingested.
Actually, tea tree oil does have amazing antimicrobial properties and is one of nature’s topical wonders. Garlic is said to have similar results as does turmeric, both of which can be used topically or ingested. Others use fresh aloe vera taken directly off the plant and applied to the area. Another method is to apply duct tape to the area, replacing it daily. Many people have met with success using this treatment, but the exact mechanism through which it works is unclear. It could be that the warts are removed layer by layer as the duct tape is removed daily, or it could be that taping the area starves the infection of oxygen and nutrients. In any case, some people swear by this method.
There are a number of reasons why people choose to use naturopathic remedies for conditions such as verrucas, the most common being the cost involved in seeking medical treatment. Second to that is the fact that verrucas are caused by the human papillomavirus and there is no actual ‘cure’ for it. It can come back at any moment so the expense would be incurred all over again. Natural treatments are known to be effective at a lot less the cost. Although there are times when medical intervention is necessary such as when extreme pain or infection is present, most often natural remedies are just as effective and a whole lot safer.