Archived Q&A and Reviews


Warts on 4-year-old's finger and lips

Feb 2014

My four-year-old has had a wart on his finger for about a year and a half, and of course, like most kids, can't keep his fingers out of his mouth. So now he has developed warts on and around his lips. There are two new ones that have appeared just over the last few weeks, and I'm really scared that he will be disfigured somehow. We have seen the Kaiser pediatric dermatologist, who prescribed Aldara cream, which we tried a year ago on the finger wart, and it did nothing. The only other options she can suggest are liquid nitrogen -- totally out of the question, he will not allow that on his finger, much less his face -- and squaric acid treatment, which is painless but takes time, and we can't use it on his face. Has anyone had their kid treated for warts successfully? How about warts on and around the lips?? We are really worried about this. Thanks!!

This is common problem with a common virus. Wart virus lives in the stratum corneum, or dead upper layers of the skin. It can affect virtually any part of the epithelium (inside of mouth too). It is spread from broken skin to broken skin (micro tears in the skin). The first thing you need to try to do is keep his hands out of his mouth. Yes, it's difficult. I worked as a dermatologist at Kaiser (home raising 4 kids now) and they have this nifty stuff called canthardin or cantharone. It is the juice from a blistering beetle, used wonderfully and very effectively on warts. I would put it on skin (with a q tip, it's a very small amount) with explicit instructions to wash it off in a couple of hours or if the child started complaining of itching or other different sensation. It is not painful in any way at all, but can cause a nasty blister if not taken off early enough. I have used it on my own kids (one lip wart- washed off in 15 minutes), bottom of feet (took several applications, but gone in about 3 tries) and knees. The hands are no different. You do have to take your son in every 3 weeks until it's gone and stay on top of it. Wart virus is very resilient and can actually live in a cell and not show it. That's why you treat one wart and another pops up right next to it. I agree, no liquid nitrogen. Squaric acid is ok, but cantharone is much better in my experience. I can't speak to any derms in Oakland Kaiser, but LOVE Drs. Mumm and Franklin at Park Shadelands. They are positively wonderful! Good luck and try not to stress. It is a non-scarring virus. To scar someone, the process needs to be in the dermis part of the skin, which wart virus is definitely not. derm mom

Regarding warts and cantharone: this treatment can cause ring warts, a ring of smaller warts around the original wart. I do not think dermatologists use cantharone except for plantar warts and for molluscum. Susan

Apple cider vinegar works. Google it. Soak a piece of cotton with the vinegar then apply with bandaid. There are lots of safe home remedies, but this one really worked for me and my son. It can take weeks, but it's more effective and way less painful than the acid treatments. Not sure about using it near the mouth. x

I can't believe I'm posting this as I'm very much about evidence-based medicine, but...I believe I got rid of my 5-year-old's warts years ago using banana peel, which is a folk remedy. I scraped off some of the white stuff on the inside of the peel and then rubbed the peel on the warts on her hand, which were increasing in number. I put the banana peel in the fridge between uses. After several days the warts began to get a little brown and irritated, so I stopped the applications. And then all the warts went away. So! Maybe it was the banana peel, maybe it was the fact that warts are caused by a virus and her body finally cleared it. But it can't hurt to try. wart-free kid

My 6 year old had several warts on her feet which did not respond to the smelly liquid wart remover but our Kaiser dermatologist recommended duct tape which worked great and relatively fast. Cheap, easy, clean and odor free. I don't know that you could use it on his lips, though -- the protocol is all over the web, too. Good luck! Relieved

Sounds awful! But generally warts are a benign matter that eventually go away. I've heard that putting duct tape on them helps, supposedly blocks off the oxygen. Maybe try that at night? My son had warts when he was little, on the bottom of his foot, they disappeared after a while, it didn't take long. Also some warts are contagious, your kid may have touched someone's warts and then touched his face. You may want to talk to him about keeping his fingers off his face and washing frequently. Jane

I successfully treated my son's plantar wart (on the bottom of his foot) with ...apple cider vinegar! We too had tried everything to cure his wart and nothing worked for over a year, then I read about using vinegar.

Put a little apple cider vinegar on a bandaid and put it over the wart. Wear it overnight. My son said it burned a little while the bandaid was on but after just one night the wart was shrinking. I think he did it for 2 nights and a few days later the wart just peeled off and the skin underneath was healthy. It never came back! I'm not sure I would try that on the lips but definately on the finger. Wartless

Hi Mom, Why is liquid nitrogen ''out of the question'' for you? Do you think it is dangerous? I am a mature, vain, professional woman who had this done on my face and I didn't question it in the least. It took about a minute, cost me nothing (at Kaiser) and it worked! anonymous

Warts on child's hands

Sept 2007

My five year old has common warts on his hands which do not bother him. He has had one ''freezing'' type of treatment with the pediatrician but it did not seem to make a difference. Has anyone had any experience with a wart treatment that may have worked for your child? a wondering mom

I just asked my pediatrician about this one for my four year- old. He said it is fine to use the standard (adult) over-the- counter wart treatments you can buy at the drugstore. You know, the kind where basically you apply a medicated bandaid over the wart for several days in a row and some sort of acid eats away at it. I have used these for myself and can assure you they are easy and painless, so I was happy to hear this. The other option of course, is simply to do nothing, which he said is fine too. Linda

Beetle juice! Really. A lot of folks swear by duct tape, but my daughter's warts were on her toes, and the duct tape was too large for little toes and kept slipping off. But a dermatologist at Kaiser suggested beetle juice (catharidin is the real name, I think), and it worked like magic. It wasn't painful when applied and those stubborn warts went away completely over a couple of months (I saw some improvement almost immediately). You may have to ask specifically for it. My daughter's wonderful pediatrician only suggested the tape. It was when I took my daughter to see a dermatologist for another reason and casually mentioned the warts that the derm suggested the beetle juice. Loved the movie, too

Wart on 5-year-old's foot

April 2006

My 5 yo son has a wart on his foot. We tried duct tape for months, but no effect. Mostly the tape would fall off, even when secured by a bandaid. We tried one application of freezing with propane (Dr Scholl's), no effect. This was too painful for my son for him to let us repeat it. I suspect that a dermatologist or GP would use liquid N2, similarly painful. But to be honest, we haven't asked his doc about it. My question is, should we just leave it alone? He's had the wart for a year now.

my son had warts on the soles of his feet, and we used the stuff they sell in safeway--little stickers that you cover with a pad--I think it was by the makers of compound W--the actual ingredient is aspirin! (salicylic acid) Worked like a charm-- they never came back. I had warts all over my hands as a kid-- froze them off, burned them off-never worked--they always came back. Finally a dermatologist prescribed 5FU (5% flourouracil) Completely painless cream I rubbed in--30 years later I am wart free still! no warts

Wart on the side of teen daughter's nose

Sept 2005

My teenage daughter has a rather large wart on the side of her nose which, as you can imagine, is making her very unhappy. I've been taking her to a dermatologist (Dr. Dunn, who I am not impressed with) who has frozen it off three times, but it doesn't completely disappear and then grows back. There's no way my daughter is going to wear duct tape on her nose for 6 weeks (which was the main suggestion from the website when a question about warts was posted a couple of years ago), so I am looking for other ideas. I am particularly interested in natural or ''folk'' remedies, which the dermatologist might scoff at, but which might actually work. This is causing my daughter major stress! Mom of miserable teen

Please get your daughter to a different dermatologist. Once you find the right doctor, he or she will know what to do. Two very good dermatologists are Dr. Warren Dotz in Berkeley and Dr. Kristin Walker in Orinda. My kids have been to Dr. Walker and she is excellent. My husband and I have both been to Dr. Dotz for different things, and I highly recommend him as well. He doesn't treat my kids, as his practice is limited to teenagers and adults. Karen

I just wanted to let you and your teenager know my story. I am 28 now, but when I was about 15 years old, I had warts all over one of my hands, which were very upsetting for me. I went to a Kaiser dermatologist who burned them off. I also had to go many times (I'm sure it was more than 3 times), and each time the warts grew back, until one time they did not grow back. I have been free of warts ever since. So, it might just take a few more times! Good luck! Free of Warts

Most home remedies work on the theory of cutting off oxygen to the virus that is causing the wart, hence the duct tape recommendation. There are alternatives that are less unattractive than duct tape. I had success a couple of times in the past with Vitamin E (or Vitamin A, I forget which), which comes in a softgel. You poke a hole in the softgel with a needle, and squeeze the vitamin onto the wart several times a day. I recently had a wart on my chin, the first one in many years, and wasn't so successful. I eventually switched to Compound W at night (It turns white and, like duct tape, is too unsightly for daytime use on my face. Just be CAREFUL with it on the face) and Vitamin E during the day. When that didn't work either, I used a dot of superglue during the day and Compound W at night. All this is based on others' recommendations; I didn't make any of this up, except using Compound W at night when the other approaches didn't work. The wart seems to have disappeared finally (it took over a month), but I'm still holding my breath. Hopefully wart-free

Hi, I haven't tried this myself, but a friend who had a wart for a couple of years tried hypnotherapy and said the wart started to disappear soon after the 1st treatment! Good luck. Jessica

My 12 year old daughter has had an extremely stubborn large wart on her thumb for at least 18 months, and has been very susceptible to warts for years. Apparently, some people's skin chemistry is wart-friendly. Our dermatologist has tried a variety of treatments, including freezing (works only on the smallest, newest warts), candida cream (creates an auto-immune reaction which--if it works--kills the wart), and Aldara 5% cream. This last treatment, originally intended for genital warts, seems to be working--finally!! The others never had much effect.

Interestingly, our dermatologist is convinced that warts disappear sooner, sometimes without medication, if the sufferer visualizes the warts disappearing and has positive thoughts about healthy skin. My daughter hasn't faithfully tried this strategy, though. Try working with your daughter on her visualizations, and you might ask your dermatologist about the candida and Aldara creams. And good luck! mom of warty daughter

I saw a dermatologist about a wart my son had, and then mentioned this to our new doctor, Janet Perlman. She said that she could do the wart freezing herself in her office, in Berkeley, that there was need to go to the dermatologist for this. This worked really well, after two freezings six weeks apart, and my son is now wart free. She was gentle, and with a sense of humour, reassured my son that the procedure would be painless. It was fine. So you might try Dr. Perlman for the wart... She's a great doctor, I reckon, but that's another matter. Janice

My 3.5 year old son has had warts on his hand for about 1 year. It started as one and progressed to 5 little ones on his hand.

I had also been recommended to try duct-tape and the MD tried to freeze it off once, but both methods were a bust. We tried the Compound-W with bandaids for quite a while, with also some improvments but they just came back. Finally, the pediatrician referred us to a dermotologist. The dermo. has prescribed Aldara, which is a 'immune response modifier''. It is applied on the wart only 3 times a week and is intended to help boost the immune response to fight the wart virus.

The MD gave us two very small samples, and a prescription. We only used one of the samples and they are already almost gone. It has worked great with only a couple of applications. It is not a natural or alternative medication but you may want to ask your MD about it. www.aldara.com.

fyi - we had been refered to Dr.Graham at Affiliates in Dermotology Medical Group 510-652-8091. He was very personable with my son and put him at ease right away. anon

Hi - You don't have to use duct tape on a wart. What's really working is the stuff under the duct tape - Compound W or whatever. The duct tape just helps the medicine stay on, and pulls away the dead skin parts of the wart that the medication has killed. You just have to be religious about applying the medication twice a day and the wart will eventually peel off and not come back. The medication turns the wart white, so your daugther might want to wear a tiny flesh-colored bandaid. Or not. anon

Plantar warts on daughter's foot

June 2005

Does anyone have any advice on getting rid of plantar warts on sole of foot? I have tried medicated patches and duct tape but have had only limited success. My daughter is afraid of freezing them off because she has heard it really stings. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks! CK

I had one removed many years ago by cauterization (burning) - its actually the numbing medication that stings when its injected. I don't think there's much else that's effective in western medicine for plantar's warts. mine had to be burned 3 times before it stopped coming back - by the way they can be contagious in shared shower stalls and such especially if you're prone to such. That's why I always wear sandals in public shower rooms

Compound W works wonders. When you put it on, it is cold, but doesn't sting. It will only sting if you administer once and when the scar look like it's coming off,you peel it off. If you do that and then put the medicine back on, it will sting. My advice is to use this, but do not pick at the scar. It will take a few applications, but it really does the trick and the wart will be gone! Good luck! melanie

Dealing with stubborn plantar warts

Feb 2004

My husband has been struggling with multiple, terrible warts on his foot. He's being treated every three weeks at Kaiser with a combination of acid and freezing -- an incredibly painful treatment -- but the warts are hanging in there and, it seems, getting even worse. He's unable to walk without limping for days after each treatment. He can't hike (his usual form of exercise), he's gaining weight, and he's depressed about it.

The doctors have suggested that he might even have some sort of immune system problem. But they keep treating these monsters with the same combination of burning and freezing. We're all getting frustrated. This has been going on for a year now. (The warts were quite large when he began treatment, as he did things like Compound W at home for a year before finally going to the doctor.)

Any other treatments you suggest? I've heard of laser surgery. But my real question: has anybody used alternative medicine such as acupuncture or other non-Western treatments for warts? Anybody you suggest he see to deal with this problem? I tend to go the more holistic route than he does, but I think he's pretty open to almost anything (though probably would draw the line at crystals and chanting). Any advice deeply appreciated. Worried about Warts

Strange but true: I had a similar problem when I was a teenager--months of repeated freezing and carving would not take care of them--until my doctor, at his wit's end, mentioned (a little shame-faced) that he had read in a homeopathic journal that banana peels could be effective! Willing to try anything, I began eating a banana before bed every night, cutting a little square out of the peel, and taping it over the wart while I slept. Within a couple of weeks it was gone. anon

I had really good luck with sand and sunshine. For me, a trip to the Middle East where I wore sandals all the time, it was hot and dry, and the dust/heat seemed to just dry them up. I had spent some time with home treatment, and in frustration had cut at it, so when I went I had a big sore on the bottom of my foot. The plantar wart just didn't come back. I also have a friend who took a 2-week vacation to Mexico right after her warts were burned away. The salty sand and long periods of being barefoot made them not come back. Perhaps take walks on the beach every day. The salt and sand and fresh air may help stop the warts growing so much. I have also heard that you should wear new socks every day, or even twice a day, wash the socks in some kind of intense detergent, and take your shoes and socks off at every available opportunity. They like damp and closed, dark environments. My husband had warts like the ones you describe. He was in terrible pain and every time they burned them away, new ones came out around the edges. He finally ended up changing doctors, and the new one said keep his feet as bare as possible as often as possible. Now he feels that they mostly went into remission rather than going away, but as long as he is barefoot a lot (he says stay out of socks as much as you can) they are okay and not painful or growing. Our sympathies are with you. Winter is the hardest time to deal with this problem! Heather

When I was a teenager I had warts all over my fingers. I had them repeatedly burned off and frozen off, and I remember driving home from the dermatologist with my mom, and crying because it hurt so much. Then a doctor tried 5 fluorouracil ointment, which is used for some skin cancers. I just rubbed it in twice a day. My warts were all gone in a couple months-- I'm now in my 40's, and they are still gone...My son also had plantar warts, which i treated with the stuff you can buy in Safeway, and they just fell off after a couple weeks and never returned. You have probably already tried that though... ann

I had several large warts (one plantar, and a few on my hands), which also were not responding to freezing, Compound W, etc. Last summer, I was lucky enough to be part of a research study that uses candida antigen (or something like that) injections. Once a month, for three months, my largest (or oldest?)wart was injected with the stuff. I had no response after the first injection, but after the second one, a few of my warts disappeared. Following the third (final) injection, within another month or so they were almost all gone - like magic. I have one tiny one now that just won't go (yet), but the other areas look like I never had warts at all. No scars. Was it painful? Yes, but then so was the ineffective alternative And it was very brief. When I went in for the second shot, I asked the doctor to ice the area first, and that helped a lot. I don't know if anyone is still doing this study, or offering this treatment, but you might check around. By the way, females - despite it being candida, it did NOT lead to vaginal yeast at all (I am prone to that, and worried about it, but there was nothing to worry about). Formerly Warty

My husband had plantar warts. They're hard to get rid of! A suggestion that helped was mashing up fresh garlic, putting it on a bandage, and taping the bandage to his foot at night. Kate

My friend had what she described as a truly miraculous experience with accupuncture. She had done all the freezing, etc. and was at her wits end when she sought the help of an accupuncturist. It involved herbs and needles and she was thrilled when after a couple of months the warts slowly disolved away. This was in Washington DC. Good luck!! There are many good accupuncturists in the area... Brian Barley(sp?) for one. Lisa

To the person who posted the Worried About Warts request: here's one I didn't see in the Advice Digest: my son picked up planters warts (which seemed to have the survival endurance of cockroaches) at his gymnasium. We eventually had success with combination of eucalyptus oil (a remedy I found on the internet) and bandaging with duct tape. They slowly grew smaller and eventually disappeared. It did take a few months of this treatment to work, but they have never returned. Good luck. nk

I had a plantar wart for the first time in my life a year ago and it was driving me nuts. I used the salicylic acid -- 30 or 40%, not sure which but it was strong. Then did the scrapping away. My foot felt raw and it didn't go away. I went to the dermatologist who told me that as counter intuitive as this sounds, the weaker salicylic acid patches work better. They were expensive - $30 a box. They are called Trans Ver Sal and are 15%. You don't scrap, you use a nail file bought and used just on the wart. It worked. Good luck, not walking is miserable! been there

I heard a program on NPR some months ago on a scientific study that showed duct tape would cure plantar warts. eve

Wart Treatment & removal

March 2003

I have several small warts on my hands, and am hoping there's an effective way to get rid of them. A few years ago I used a salicylic acid liquid (the one I used was Dr. Scholl's) for the one wart I had, which got rid of it. But now I have several more. I didn't see the salicylic acid liquid the last time I looked for it, just the medicated patches, and I was wondering if the patches are effective? How long does it take? I also know about using liquid nitrogen, but when I tried it a few years ago, it was so much more painful than the salicylic acid treatment.

I'm also wondering if anyone knows of any other treatments--maybe more natural ones? I know tea tree oil is supposed to help treat toe nail fungus--will it treat the virus that causes warts??
Want to be wart-free

A few months ago the New York Times reported that a study had found duct tape to be more effective than freezing to get rid of warts. I personally have no experience with either method, and I wouldn't call duct tape ''natural'', but perhaps this is worth trying or asking your doctor about. The article came out on the Health section, Oct 15, 2002. Perhaps you could find it in the archives of the Berkeley Library. You could also buy it from the nytimes website ($3.00). picado

This is going to sound a little crazy, but I recently read that covering the wart with duct tape (yes, duct tape!!!) for several weeks will make warts go away as well as or better than the standard treatment. For more info, see http://www.ahealthyme.com/article/bellhowell/103369699 Karen

Before Homeland Security was recommending duct tape, there was a report in the media that duct tape was cheaper and as effective, if not more effective, in removing warts (I think they were testing plantar wart). A piece of tape place over the wart daily did the trick for some people. Anon

This is hard to believe, but I recently saw an article that found duct tape to be effective for removing warts. No, you don't rip them off. You leave the tape on for weeks, and the slight irritation caused by the adhesive activates your immune system. So your body gets rid of the virus causing the wart. You might not want to wear duct tape on your hands, but you could conceivably cover it with a regular bandaid. Anon

This is hard to believe, but I recently saw an article that found duct tape to be effective for removing warts. No, you don't rip them off. You leave the tape on for weeks, and the slight irritation caused by the adhesive activates your immune system. So your body gets rid of the virus causing the wart. You might not want to wear duct tape on your hands, but you could conceivably cover it with a regular bandaid. Anon

My son had multiple warts on his hands. For three months I took him to a dermatologist who froze them (at 2 week intervals). It was painful and expensive, and it didn't work. In fact, he was getting more warts. Then we read a newspaper article about the use of duct tape to treat warts. My son put duct tape on his fingers at night only because he did not want to wear the tape to school. Within two weeks all his warts were gone and they have not returned. -Amazing Duct Tape

As one who has suffered from warts and has used various over-the- -counter and herbal remedies, I have concluded that the most effective and dependable treatment for warts is a prescription cream called Aldara. It acts by stimulating the immune reponse so that your own system rejects and destroys the wart. Although the pkg insert recommends using it every other day, on hand warts my dermatologist recommended daily or even twice a day. You need to apply it gingerly only to the affected area since it can irritate normal skin. It also works for genital warts, plantar warts and molluscum. You can ask your family doctor for a prescription. mdmom

Regarding wart removal. I just read that putting duct tape on it is an effective method. Another use for all that duct tape! Martha

I have used DUO FILM/Sallicylic Acid Wart Remover/Patch for KIds patches. I bought them for my kids and they have worked great. You can cut them to smaller patches for smaller spots. I used them twice for myself, easy and pretty quick. No scars either.

I have had a few tiny warts on my hands and fingers for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately during my pregnancy last year I broke out with several large warts on my fingers. The first one (early in the pregnancy) I used liquid salycilic acid on... I don't remember the brand, but I found it in the grocery store. Unfortunately I lost the bottle before the second one developed later in the pregnancy. Since I didn't feel like buying a whole box of bandaids just to get the mini ones I decided to go with the Dr. Scholls patches... and since I was killing the big one I went after one of the small ones at the same time. The problem I had was cutting the patches to the right size. When I didn't cut them small enough they irritated the skin around the wart and caused painful inflamation. Because of the irritation it took longer to fully be rid of the wart because I waited until the irritation was gone to try again. I managed to get rid of the big wart in about the same time as I had with the liquid. The small one is still there. It just wasn't worth the effort to cut the patches to the miniscule size it would take to work. warty mom

I got a dime-sized cluster of little warts on my thumb last year (it took me awhile to figure out what they were). I went to Kaiser and got them treated, once, with liquid nitrogen and they are gone. I had the same treatment for a plantar wart a few years ago- they are very stubborn and it took several treatments, but eventually it went away. I had tried all the over the counter remedies for the plantar wart and nothing worked. With my thumb, I just went straight for the proven treatment.

More natural? Well, nitrogen is a pure element, and it works. It burns when it is put on, but it's very quick.

Tea tree oil has done nothing for my toenail fungus unfortunately (and mine is a mild case). I've moved on to anti-fungal topicals after doing a little 'home surgery' to expose the interior of the nail some, and am seeing progress.

Good luck
Wart Free

There have recently been studies that show that duct tape is as effective as the liquid nitrogen. I think the way is as follows: Put the tape on the wart for 6 days straight, soak in warm water, file with pumice or emery board, leave tape off overnight, repeat until gone. You could probably find the study or news clips about it on the web. anon

Folklore remedy for warts that seems to work: Put a patch of duct tape about the size of the wart on the affected area. Leave on for six days. Remove, soak wart area in warm water, buff wart with an emory board or pumice stone. Leave uncovered overnight, then repeat the process. May take up to eight weeks, but more often than not, the wart disappears! (Common wisdom is that this that this is due to an immune system response to the adhesive.)

It's very interesting about the duct tape. But does the idea that it triggers an immune response make anyone else a little hesitant? Adhesives like that aren't tested for use on human skin I'm sure. Did the NY Times article give any info on this question? anon

I know this sounds crazy but try duct tape. There was a study released last year that duct tape for six(?) days was an effective treatment for warts. I've heard it is just as effective as those patches but much cheaper! I just did a google search on duct tape warts and cameup with hundreds of results. Check it out! allison

Plantar Wart removal

Jan 2002

Has anyone had any success having a plantar wart removed from the ball of the foot? My almost-16 year old daughter has been battling one for months now, using over-the-counter medication recommended by our pediatrician. She has soaked her foot, filed the wart, applied salacylic pads, visualized the wart gone, with a moderate degree of vigilance, at least as much as you can expect of an adolescent. I can tell she is in pain, although she's not one to complain much. She is a swimmer, and our guess is that she picked it up in the locker room. Is the next step a referral to a dermatologist? A podiatrist? Is surgical removal successful? Any advice would be much appreciated, including recommendations of physicians. Judy

I had one a few years ago. The nurse practioner I saw recommended an over-the-counter med as well that didn't work. I went back and got a referral to a podiatrist. The first thing he told me was that the over-the-counter works but you have to get the kind that has 40% of the active ingredient (a lot of them have less than 20%). He had me get the stronger med and then come in a few times to have my foot scraped. In no time it was better after having suffered for months. So, I would check the med you are using first. If 40% isn't working then definitely see a podiatrist.

I had a good experience using Dr Scholl's Plantar Wart medicated pads. They come with a sort of foam circle pad to cushion the wart while it's getting medicated so it hurts less. Follow directions. It worked for me. Good luck. stephani

I had a plantar wart burned off by a podiatrist, but my recollection is that any dr. can do it. Since then I had one other, which was removed by vigilant use of over the counter meds. There's a pretty good likelihood your daughter got it from the locker room. That's where I got mine-it's a virus and contagious. Since then I've always used flipflops in public showers, which you might also recommend for your daughter

One of my daughters had a wart scooped out of her sole by a podiatrist, after freezing it off was unsucessful. My other daughter had a huge wart on her index finger knuckle and we succesfully removed with with the following method: we put sap from a pine tree on the wart in the morning and in the evening covering the mess with a band aid. We were amazed that every day the sap would eat up part of the wart. In two weeks the wart was gone, it was totally painless and totally free. Ksenija

My sons have both have had plantar warts on their feet. They are contagious as you know. We were successful at treating them through utter and total vigilance with the use of the painted on salicylic acid medicine, every day, and after irritating the wart to stimulate the immune response. We did this with the help of our dermatologist, Dr. Warren Dotz. When the warts became smaller, Dr. Dotz then finished them off with liquid nitrogen burn. It worked very well. Nothing against all our terrific pediatricians but a dermatologist makes a big difference in quick & correct diagnosis and accurate treatment of skin issues. This has been our experience. Also, since these warts are contagious we never use hand-me-down cleats, or share flippers, that sort of thing. I feel for you! Debby

I had a plantar wart removed from my foot several years ago at Kaiser Oakland in the Dermatology dept. It was very near the ball of the foot and deeply rooted. It took a bunch of applications of liquid nitrogen to get rid of it, several times over a period of months. I also used the salicylates and pumice (abrasive) between treatments. It just seemed to take a lot of wearing down, being so deeply rooted in tough skin.

Liquid nitrogen causes pain afterward, like a burn, but was not too bad- I just had to walk gingerly. I had one wart burned off with a needle years ago by a dermatologist and would NOT recommend it- too painful, left a permanent bumpy scar. You might also try the juice from fresh pineapple or papaya- the enzyme can get in there and loosen it up, sort of like the salicylate ( I had a wart come right off my finger while I was slicing pineapple once ). Patience seems to be necessary in a case like this. -Nils

Regarding the plantar wart question: In my experience, over-the-counter wart medications don't work too well, and really don't work on plantar warts. A dermatologist will burn it off in an instant; it's really worth it to see a doctor. I had one burned off years ago and I remember being nervous that it would hurt but it really didn't much. And it was worth it to have the pain and discomfort disappear within days. Melanie

When I was a teenager I had a plantar's wart on the ball of my foot. This was in a small town in Nebraska, so the only option was a general practitioner, and he applied liquid nitrogen to the wart and burned/froze it off. As I recall (this was of course eons ago) it was painful but not unbearable. No painkillers were used. I believe he had to apply it on two different occasions. He put a bandage on it and I had to keep the foot dry. The wart was gone. About ten years after that, more warts appeared on a different part of the same foot. This time I was in England and went to what they call a chiropodist. He put some kind of chemical on to burn them off, and this, too, was effective if a bit painful. He told me that these warts are congenital. Since then (twenty years ago) there has been no recurrence. Good luck! Linda

Plantar wart removal: My son had a wart on his finger and we also tried the same remedies, unsuccessfully so that it spread from one to probably ten over 2 years. His pediatrician worked on it with some freezing solution to no avail and only when we went to a dermatologist (Kathy Fang in El Cerrito) and they were frozen off properly did they finally disappear (we hope!). He had to have 3-4 treatment over a period of time because they had become so deep and now we would return with the first sign of a return. Judith

When I was around 20 I had a Plantar Wart removed from the ball of my foot. I had tried applying the over the counter topical strips with no success. A doctor tried to freeze it out with no success.

Finally I went to a podiatrist who cut it out surgicallly. That worked. I would assume that it does hurt your daughter. At first it felt like a little pebble in my shoe, but by the time it was removed, it was large and painful to walk on. Sorry I don't have a recommendation for the podiatrist - I lived on the east coast at the time.

Plantar warts are impossible to get rid of with over-the-counter remedies. I know, I tried them with my son and myself for over 3 months. Finally, out of agonizing pain and frustration I made an appointment with the UCSF lazer clinic (I can't remember the Docs name). He prescribed squearic (sp?) acid (SDBE 2%).

Basically, what this stuff does is cause the body to develop a poison-oak-like allergic reaction to the acid. The body then thinks it has poison oak and then works to attack the wart from inside the body, rather than from the outside like most topical treatments (warts build a protective case at the base which prevents the body from recognizing it and attacking it). The squearic acid has to be heavily diluted with acetone.

He said it would still take 10 weeks to get rid of the warts, but for me and my son relief occurred within the first week, and they were completey gone within 3-4 weeks. I had no side-effects until about a week after I had stopped treatment. Then I developed a poison-oak type rash on my arms which was treated with cortisone. From what I know, the rash is a common side-effect with the squearic acid.

Be careful, plantar warts are highly contagious. Your daughter could easily spread them to the rest of the family just by walking barefoot in the house, taking a shower, etc. She should also always wear those rubber slippers at the pool and shower. Good luck.

I had a plantar's wart in college. I went to the healthcenter and a GP doc carved away my callouses over the wart (no feeling in that skin, didn't hurt a bit) and used liquid nitrogen to burn away the wart (that hurt like heck) and it was difficult to walk the next 24-36 hours (I recall I still went outlet store shopping) but the wart went away and I've never had another. I had the usual warts on my hands as a child and the OTC drugs/applications never worked. Get them burnt off with liquid nitrogen and be done with it!

We have these warts in the family. My husband started with 1 on the ball of his foot 8 years ago which he just thought he'd live with. It ended up growing ,spreading and starting a colony. There were over 20, and last July he went to Alta Bates for surgery. They were so deep they needed to be cut out and he had stitches in some areas. He was off his foot for 3 weeks. His podiatrist, Dr. Michael Di Giacomo, is very good and the only one my husband trusts. He typically removes planters warts in his office, but this foot was in need of special care. My 7 yr. old son has one on his foot and we've tried the over the counter stuff, having it frozen off by his pediatrician, and his pediatrician is now referring us to a dermatologist.

I had a plantar wart removed from the ball of my foot (and heel) about 25 years ago, so the process used by MD's may be different these days.....They burned mine off. I didn't investigate other methods at the time (I was a young college student). The Dr. anethsitized (sp?) my foot, which hurt more than the procedure. Then she used a tool that actually burned it. I had to be careful of infection for a week or two till it healed and then I was fine. It never came back. Again, I'd never tried the ointments, liquids, etc. good luck.

I had plantar warts on the underside edges of my toes on my left foot. I, too, tried all the home remedies to no avail (they would recede temporarily and then return with a vengance). I finally saw a general practitioner about them - this was at my college, which had outpatient medical services. He burned them off using (I think) nitrogen. It worked! This was in 1994. My only comment on the procedure was that he did it too fast - it should have been more than one treatment, but he decided to burn them off with only one office visit. Normally, this would be a painless procedure, but for me it certainly was not. In retrospect, I think it was because he was only in the clinic one day/week and wanted to save money/time/whatever. I complained after to the staff. Regardless of this, I am sooooo happy that I had them removed by a doctor. I hope this helps. Freyja

My 9 year old son had a plantar wart that took about 1 - 1/2 months to remove. They' can be very deep which may take longer to come out. There is an over the counter wart removal (specifically for plantar warts) that you can use. It's important to do this everyday until the edges around the wart start to peel. I would soak my son's foot in warm soapy water for about 5 minutes, dry it really well and put the medicine on and around it. I then covered it with gauze and a bandaid. The doctor had used an emery board - the rougher the better and just filed it down as much as possible and used just a basic wart medication. When it finally came out, it left a pretty good size hole on the bottom of his foot, so you have to make sure you put an antibiotic ointment on it and cover it well until the skin grows back.

My daughter had exactly the same problem with a plantar wart (same place, same age) which wouldn't go away despite all of the various treatments you mentioned including having it burned off several times to no avail. We finally went to the Podiatrist (Dr. Michael DiGiacomo in Oakland-whom we loved) and he removed it in about 2 minutes. My daughter said it didn't really hurt. It solved the problem which we had been dealing with for months-healed quickly and she was able to go backpacking 2 weeks later with no problems. It was an immense relief to see her no longer in pain when she walked on the ball of her foot.

A dermatologist is a good idea. Try Dr. Julie Billings in Oakland. Here's what she had me do -- apply a patch called Tran-ver-sal. It is not as strong as the other salicylic acid patches and oddly enough this is better! You must be very consistent at following the instructions or it won't work. I was miserable for months before getting this patch. Dawn

I had to have a plantar wart removed from the bottom of my foot - but it was done quickly by my GP at the first visit. He had to burn it off, I think with some kind of acid or catherization. It didn't hurt, and has never returned. I wonder why your doctor is making her go through all this, and not just removing it? You shouldn't need a specialist, but if you do, he/she should refer you to one to remove the wart completely. They're painful!

Further experiences. I has a painful plantar wart removed from just in front of the heel when I was 17. I had many times tried the topical removers with the nurse or I applying the medicine. No effect. The Dermatologist then attempted to freeze it off many times. No effect. He then electrically burned it off. It did not return.

Hi Judy, I have sympathy for your daughter. I battled with plantars wart for many years. I am also a swimmer, hmmm...

At first I also tried the OTC methods of removal, visualization, as well as natural methods such as rubbing raw garlic! Ugh! Can you imagine!? Anyway, I don't know anyone who has used OTC medication successfully for this awful problem.

I finally went to my dermatologist who froze it off with liquid nitrogen. Tell your daughter it doesn't really hurt that much. It can take multiple treatments before it completely goes away. She really should see someone ASAP because the older the wart gets, the harder it is to get rid of them. The other reason to get rid of it is that contact with that wart or its shedding skin can cause the virus to spread.

I knock on wood in hopes that I have finally been rid of this terrible virus. In some cases my warts were so stubborn I went to UCSF for laser treatment. This treatment is pretty painful but very effective. I'm sure your daughter will not have to go that far. I think I had it worse than most people because I suffer from excema which makes it easy for the virus to live.

I see Dr. James Jacobitz in Oakland. He also has an office in SF. He'll be fine for freezing warts but I am not actually that thrilled with him as a practitioner for my excema. You can also call the dermatology clinic at UCSF - they do a great job. They are located on Divisidero at Sutter (or Bush).


In high school I had what I was told was a plantar wart on the ball of my foot. It recurred when I was pregnant. I saw Dr. Tanaka, a podiatrist in El Cerrito, who said it was not a plantar wart but a callous that developed because of the way my foot was shaped. He removed it at that appointment, gave me some suggestions, and it has not recurred. I would suggest an evaluation by a podiatrist. Ellen I know how your daughter is suffering and I hope this helps. Good Luck.