Pulling Out a Plantar Wart Root (eek)

I had a plantar wart on my foot. So I tried a drugstore cure to help pull out the root at home. Here’s what to expect from using a Salicylic acid patch like I did.

Plantar war in between toes.

I blamed my plantar’s wart on my unparalleled commitment to fitness. And therefore I blamed fitness for spending my Friday night pulling out a plantar wart root.

It’s the kind of injury a 15 year old boy on swim team, or those elite marathoners who run until they poop in their pants would get.

With my running schedule amounting to chasing a rogue backyard chicken back into its (admittedly delightful) chicken coop I decided me getting a wart was probably just bad luck.

So the plan to terminate this little toe lump began. I’m not new to conducting medical experiments on myself.

There was the frozen yogurt tampon treatment for yeast infections for example. Or the continuously drinking water for a bladder infection treatment. Both are based on science and both work surprisingly well.

Dr. Scholl's wart remover kit laid out with the bandaids, box and small patches of Salicylic Acid.

I remember being very young, maybe 7 or 8 and having a plantar wart.  It was on the bottom of my foot and had to be cut out by my doctor. This was back in the day when doctors actually doctored. Mine even knew how to clean out ear wax and give stitches. 

I wasn’t looking forward to having a doctor dig a hole out of my foot so like a sensible person, I tried to dig a hole out of my foot myself. 

Not with a knife, but with Salicylic acid, the active ingredient that gets rid of warts by killing the skin. It’s a little more scientific than that but that’s the gist of it. And it’s much less terrifying than pulling out a wart with tweezers or a pin.

How to Get Rid of Plantar Warts

  1. Buy a wart removal kit. They’re all basically the same. My pharmacist recommended the cheapest one on the shelf because it came with a tiny Salicylic pad and bandaids which would work well for the bizarre “between my toes” plantar wart.
  2. Remove the wart pads from the kit and peel one off. Put it directly over your (gross) wart and stick it down.
  3. Cover your Salicylic pad with the provided bandaid. It’ll either be a regular oblong bandaid or a round, soft pad bandaid.
  4. Replace the pad and bandaid every 2 days until your skin has died and comes off naturally. You may need to pull the skin a bit, pulling the root of the plantar wart with it!  Gross.  Yet weirdly satisfying.

Don’t try to just hack away at your plantar wart with a pumice stone, it won’t get rid of it. You have to treat it, and a kit cure actually works to remove plantar warts.  Which was shocking to me, I don’t mind telling you.

Don’t be alarmed if your wart fell off and left a hole. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

Pulling out root with tweezers

After treatment if the wart doesn’t come out with you can now proceed with a set of tweezers. The wart pad will have deadened the wart root, so you’ll be able to easily pull it out with a set of tweezers.

Before pulling out plantar wart root.

What causes plantar warts

  • Plantar warts are actually from a viral infection. They develop when cuts or cracks on the bottom of your feet come into contact with human papillomavirus (HPV.) The virus enters your body through the cut or crack.
  • There are more than 100 strains of HPV with only a few of them causing plantar warts on your feet. Other types of the virus will only cause warts on the hands, mouth or … private parts.
  • You’re more prone to a warts if you have a weakened immune system.

Identifying a plantar wart

  • You can identify a plantar wart aka verruca by the tiny circle like a pinhead with a minuscule black dot in the centre. It isn’t the wart that causes pain, it’s the callous that builds up around it.
  • The typical signs and symptoms are pain at the area of a circle like hard callous and of course what makes them unique is that they grow inward so you won’t see the typical raised bump typical of other warts.
The tiny patch medicated with Salicylic acid pad placed in between toes.

The Salicylic acid pad placed over the … let’s call it a beauty mark from now on … I just feel better about it that way.

The clear wart bandaid being applied in between toes to secure the pad.

I used this Dr. Scholl’s kit and the bandaids are perfectly clear, great for wrapping around a toe. Probably not so great for the bottom of your foot.  This kit would be better for that.

There’s also a LOT of talk on the Internet about people wrapping their feet in duct tape to get rid of plantar warts.  I decided I wasn’t so poor that I had to Red Green my way out of a wart. I could spend the $10 on medicine.

Alternative methods

A 2010 scientific study on plantar wart treatment proved that they are equally likely to disappear within 13 weeks using any of these 3 methods:

  1. Salicylic acid (like you see me using here)
  2. Cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen)
  3. Ignoring it

That’s right. Warts, but only a plantar wart specifically, is as likely to go be gone in 13 weeks whether you use an acid patch, liquid nitrogen or do nothing at all.

Also, as far as alternative methods go, these are great substitutes for shaving cream if you ever run out.

Applying plantar wart removal patch to toe.

You just stick the bandaid down and then pull away the wrapping.

Dr. Scholl's Clear Away wart bandaid between toes on foot.

You can’t see it at all. NO one will know you’re treating ….. a beauty mark.

Dead white skin underneath Salicylic pad after a few days.

Results

After a few days your skin turns white and eventually just pulls away with your body, the root of the plantar wart attached.  You’re welcome for not including that photo.

What you’re left with is a small hole where the dead skin has pulled out, and some pinkish skin underneath. It all fills in by itself within a few days in that magical way skin works. 


Because it regenerates itself when we cut ourselves wide open, we forgive skin for also drying, sagging, wrinkling and flapping.

What’s the fastest way to get rid of a plantar wart?

Both cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen) and Salicylic acid work within a week. If you’re more comfortable with having a doctor keep an eye on it, go the cryotherapy route. NOTE: Your plantar wart may require a few treatments to get rid of it for good.

Can you really get one from walking barefoot?

Oh yes you sure can. Especially in warm humid areas like swimming pools or change rooms with showers because the HPV virus that causes plantar warts THRIVES in those conditions.

Do you have to remove a plantar wart?

Not really no. If it’s hurting you then, yes by all means have it removed or remove it yourself. It may come back the same way a dandelion does if you don’t get the whole root.

If it isn’t causing discomfort you can leave it and within a year or two the wart will have run its course and disappear forever.

All went well and my plantar wart was gone, until a few weeks later it seemed to come back. I couldn’t really see it but it felt the same as it did when I thought I had that elite runner’s injury. So I put another pad on it and started the treatment over again just in case.

THIS time I got no root, and just ended up with a raw toe which probably had thin, sensitive skin after being killed off just a few weeks earlier.  I may have jumped the gun on retreating.

So just be careful of that.

Do I recommend these wart treatments?  Yes. 

Update: It’s several years later and there has been no recurrence of the beauty mark.

If you’re a fan of hot dogs I have an instant heartburn cure for you and an immediately way to stop the burning if you get hot sauce in your eye. All tried and tested by me in between my relentless fitness regime.

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Pulling Out a Plantar Wart Root (eek)

97 Comments

  1. Diane R says:

    WHAT IS ACF? I get acv, but not ACF.

  2. Pattie Meyers says:

    Straight ACV. It worked very well for me on a large, painful, ugly one. And then it killed toenail fungus for my husband with a few strong soaks. Very happy.
    Karen, thanks for being out there. You da bomb. For real.

  3. Audrey says:

    For the pads for the ball of your foot, I found that they gradually slipped out of place unless I covered them with a couple of bandaids. Didn’t know you could get kits that came with bandaids – guess I wasn’t the only one who had the problem. Maybe it’s something about the way I walk ;-)

  4. Amazingly perfect timing for me! I just bought wart removal pads. I have a plantar wart that’s been there for about 10 years. I treat it, it “retreats”. Then it comes back. I’m gonna get it this time!Thanks Karen.

  5. kelliblue says:

    Yucko. 🤮 Had a good sized wart on my big toe for awhile when I was a teen, though I didn’t know it was a wart. One day after swimming in the PUBLIC pool all afternoon, I ‘doinked’ my toe on something hard, and whattaya know? The whole ‘plug’ root and all, was pushed out of place, and was hanging off my toe….so i just yanked it off. *shudder* Apparently soaking in chlorine and pee water all day manages to get rid of warts as well. 😵‍💫 Not officially, of course, but still. Never came back, yay!

  6. Mary W says:

    Now, please talk to me about seed warts. My grandson has one on the bottom of his foot and yes you can see seeds shaking inside – so weird. But, this is second one so is it also a virus? Can I get it since he sleeps with me and uses my shower – he is 5 yo. I can’t believe I’m asking this of you. Sorry but you usually make so much sense of things. Better than Mr. Googlepants.

    • Karen says:

      HI Mary! Unfortunately since I’ve never had those I can’t give you any advice. But I do know they are caused by the HPV virus so they are definitely contagious. ~ karen!

    • Sophie says:

      Hi Mary, yes, all warts stem from a virus. You should try to treat his warts or get them treated, because they could transmit to other people. It helps to cover them with a new band aid every day! Then they’ll be less likely to spread.

  7. Benjamin says:

    Cute toes. 👣

  8. Kathleen Budacki says:

    I love you.

  9. Rozi says:

    My son, then 7, had one on the ball of his foot. I tried the pads and nothing. I tried the gel with the nail polish wand and nothing. Then I was told that I need a silver nitrate pencil. Sure enough that’s sold on Amazon. I ended up using 3 of them, but the wart was gone and pretty quickly too. Just keep killing it and cutting away the dead tissue and killing the newly exposed wart and keep doing that and it will die. Die wart, die!

  10. Susan says:

    Apple cider vinegar, the kind with MOTHER, soak in a solution of 3: 1 water to ACF, will kill a planters wart. Multiple soaks. It will also kill athletes foot infection.

  11. Jason says:

    I have had the unfortunate luck of having plantars warts, so I feel your pain. Next time, try the home-DIY-duct-tape method. Just get a piece of grey duct tape, cut a piece and put it on your wart. Replace and wash every day. It will pull itself out within a few days to a week. No doctor visit, no messy (and painful if skin is raw!) acid treatment. Good luck and keep on runnin! :-)

  12. Sally says:

    ‘within a year or two the wart will have run its course and disappear forever’ – sometimes, maybe. I had two on the same foot (heel and ball) that set up camp and stayed for the best part of 20 YEARS!! I did every diy-based suggestion that came my way, including these patch kits, and no joy with any of them. About six months ago, they had a final scraping and sanding and then…just weren’t there any more. Persistence is key 🤷🏻‍♀️

  13. Tatsiana says:

    I want to see THAT photo!

    • Lacey says:

      Ha! right? She leads us down the garden path then BAM! no true excitement whatsoever ;)
      We still love you, Karen, even if you do withhold the best, albeit grossest, part

      • Jan in Waterdown says:

        I was thinking the same thing. That’s what we come here for…. right?!

  14. Christine says:

    Before the sticky pads came out on the market, early 70’s, the dermatologist that treated mine told me to buy at the pharmacy counter, moleskin that comes with salicylic acid it it. Works for the bigger warts, you cut the moleskin to to size and shape. Same stuff as the name brand just in sheets. He also taped around my foot so it wouldn’t come loose. Told me to leave on for 48 hrs, shower/bath, carefully scape the dead skin, rinse and repeat. As it wears away if it gets tender, apply drugstore antibiotic ointment, cover for 24, and then resume treatment. It took several weeks and then just gone. This is the treated moleskin, not the plain one, relatively inexpensive, you get a lot.

    • Anita says:

      Red Green!! OMG, that takes me back. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I’m glad the wart is still gone!

  15. Lesley says:

    I dug out a planters wart from the ball of my foot when I was 12 or 13. It was a circular area of thick fibrous tissue about the size of a nickel. The doctor cut it out, but it came back, so I just started dealing with it myself – daily sessions hacking and pulling out the fibrous stuff with tweezers followed by pumice-stoning. Anyway, it worked and it never came back. I was so pleased with myself!

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