When is a plantar wart gone??
January 28, 2010 4:36 PM   Subscribe

How do I know when a plantar wart is gone??

My son has one plantar wart on the bottom of his foot. We've been using Dr Scholls ClearAway pads for about a month and from the first application they progressed very very quickly. We're at the point now where for about two weeks not much has changed. Much of what I THOUGHT was the wart has gone but from what I've read the wart will be replaced with "normal looking skin" when it's gone.
What he has now where the wart was is rough dry skin that is a few different colors (red's, purpleish, and white). It doesn't hurt him at all but it just seems to be staying at this point. It's hard to tell if there's any black spots since the dryness seems to mask the colors underneath.

Anybody have any idea how to know if it's REALLY gone and we can stop the pads?
posted by Thrillhouse to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
I have never used the pads, but plantar warts, with me at least, hurt so much that the lack of pain and comfort walking in a symetrical manner would be cues, to me that the wart is gone.
posted by Danf at 4:47 PM on January 28, 2010

I've had a plantar wart, and what I was told was that you can't be absolutely sure if it's gone (but you can be fairly sure if it's not, if there is pain when pressure is applied). The discoloration might be because the active ingredient is a weak acid (salicylic acid, if I remember correctly), and the (probably healthy) skin is being somewhat irritated by the application.

Here's what I'd do (I am not a doctor): I'd stop and wait. If it recurs in that spot, you might get one of your science/engineering buddies in the area who works with liquid nitrogen, and try that (you dip a Q-tip in liquid N2, touch it to the wart and a small surrounding area -- the idea being that the cold will kill the infected tissue).

Again, I am not a doctor. However, I'd guess that a doctor will tell you the exact same thing.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 4:50 PM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: When it doesn't come back.
(Yeah, not very helpful.)

if there is pain when pressure is applied

My podiatrist called this pressure "impingement." It's how you know it's a wart - does it hurt when squeezed, and does it bleed when trimmed.
posted by Rash at 5:05 PM on January 28, 2010

As a point of reference, I was a year-round competitive swimmer throughout my entire childhood and I once had a plantar wart which turned into a satellite wart (plantar surrounded by a circle of smaller warts) on the ball of my foot which took 2 years to go away. I was constantly going to a dermatologist to get it frozen with liquid nitrogen and it *still* took that long. I'm only telling you this to make sure you realize it might take a very long time to get stubborn warts to go away. On the plus side, I haven't had a wart in over 10 years.

Yes I know they can come back ... virus ... blah blah
posted by kthxbi at 5:28 PM on January 28, 2010

When I had a plantar wart, after I froze it and the pain eventually went away, what was left of the wart actually fell off, leaving a very satisfying crater. That was 8 or so years ago and I've had no recurrences. YMMV.
posted by cloudburst at 5:35 PM on January 28, 2010

I had a plantar wart when I was 14 from ballet class (we all ran around the studio barefoot, it was an epic plantars wart epidemic!). No matter what I did to remove it, at the end of the day all I had removed was the painful skin tag that resulted from the virus that caused the wart. It always came back. It finally "died" on it's own about three years later. I tell you this because, though it may not be the case for everyone, freezing it off at home (or other remedies) won't necesarily work in the long term. The only guaranteed method of removing a wart is to kill the virus by having a derm cauterize it.
posted by marimeko at 6:14 PM on January 28, 2010

I had a planters wart for about 4 or 5 years that was removed by various doctors multiple times, never successfully. Finally a dermatologist told me if it didn't bother me when walking (it didn't) to just forget about it and eventually my immune system would take care of the virus. It vanished not long after I got that medical ok to not worry about it. Coincidence? Who knows... but it never came back.

So if the wart doesn't bother your son I wouldn't stress to much over it. It will eventually vanish on it's own.
posted by COD at 6:32 PM on January 28, 2010

Try some Duct Tape, seriously.

I am not your doctor, but I have used Duct Tape applied over three days to remove multiple clusters or plantar warts.

Apply a strip of Duct Tape to cover the warts and then some extra for adhesion. Wear socks and shoes as normal, re-apply tape as needed. For my sweaty self, I reapplied three times a day. Since that routine 4 years ago, I've seen no return of the warts anywhere on my feet. YMMV
posted by limited slip at 9:12 PM on January 28, 2010

Best answer: edit: the sentence above should read, "applied over three days to remove multiple clusters OF plantar warts"
posted by limited slip at 9:15 PM on January 28, 2010

I had a plantar wart when I was about 14 too, though not from ballet.

After about 2 years, when it didn't go away, I had it cauterised too. The agony of anaesthetic needles in the hell of my foot and the smell of my own flesh burning is still with me today, but the wart never came back.
posted by nonspecialist at 9:17 PM on January 28, 2010

(heel of my foot, dammit)
posted by nonspecialist at 9:41 PM on January 28, 2010

Response by poster: ya know, I think once this package of pads is gone I'll switch to duct tape. It's faster to apply and easier to deal with.
Nonspecialist- I had a non-wart growth removed from the ball of my foot a couple years ago and I have to agree about the feeling of the needle in the bottom of the foot. The doctor wouldn't let me leave her office for about a half hour after she was done because she was afraid I was still going to pass out. That was the worst pain ever, and I've had needles in every part of my body.

Thanks for the ideas, everyone. I think the bottom line is that right now it's not gone.
posted by Thrillhouse at 6:17 AM on January 29, 2010

We just finished (we hope!) getting plantar warts off of each of our kids. Duct tape worked perfectly on one kid, leaving a little crater at the very end of the process (couple months). We applied the duct tape twice a day. On the other kid, the duct tape wouldn't effective stay due to his sweaty feet. Instead, we used salicylic acid wart remover.

In both cases, I would suggest routinely clipping away the dead skin to make sure the duct tape or acid stays in contact with the wart itself.

Nasty little buggers. The warts, that is. Not the kids. Heh.
posted by MrToad at 8:51 AM on January 29, 2010

A doctor friend once told me that you know it is gone when the "fingerprint" pattern that is disrupted by the wart is back to normal. However, they pretty much always come back sooner or later.
posted by charmedimsure at 9:06 PM on January 29, 2010

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