By Ray



This is one of a number of Medical Checkpoints giving information about common conditions and what you can do about it. Your opinion and reaction to these Medical Checkpoints would be valued and appreciated. Medical Checkpoints are published periodically by NEWSTART Healthcare and are provided as a free service.



from Surgery of the Foot and Ankle , 6th edition, Roger A. Mann, and Michael J. Coughlin, page 1088:


Plantar warts, or "papliomas of the sole," are very common. They can occur on any part of the foot, but when localized under areas of pressure, for example, the heel or metatarsal head region, they give rise to tenderness and localized pain. Warts are caused by a DNA virus belonging to the papovavirus group.


The incidence of plantar warts is 1% to 2% in the general population and rises to as much as 25% in institutionalized children. Areas where young adults and adolescents live together and bathe in common areas such as boarding school, public baths, and military dwellings have the highest rates. Usually by 2 years, the warts will resolve spontaneously in 60% of the cases. Others have found a 20% spontaneous resolution rate. Warts are transmissible from location to location on a given patient and from person to person.


What is going on:

The body has a continual job of protecting itself from outside invasion of unfriendly bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It is only when the body's defenses are weakened or the invasion is too strong for the body, or because some break in the body defenses has occurred, such as a cut or a scratch that penetrates the skin, that the viruses have a chance of setting up a stronghold. In the case of the plantar wart virus, the resulting infection causes a plantar wart.


The "differential diagnosis" of a plantar wart is an ordinary callus or corn. This distinction may be difficult to make. However they are two very different things and must be treated completely differently. The common callus or corn is a normal skin response to localized pressure. The wart is a viral infection. Warts tend to occur in clusters which is a "give away" as to their identity.


What to do:

1. The first thing to do is to ascertain the diagnosis. If the lesion is not over a weight-bearing pressure point, chances are that it may be a plantar wart. If there is a "whole family" of them, they are certainly warts. If in doubt seek professional medical advice.


2. The best help in overcoming the viral infection is to increase your general health, including your immunity. Get eight hours regular sleep. Especially the sleep obtained before midnight is beneficial to your immune system. Green leafy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and kale are beneficial to enhance the immune system. A specific food with anti-viral properties is garlic. Scientific tests have shown that the deodorized form of garlic retains its antiviral properties. Folklore remedies such as rubbing the wart with garlic or onion probably have some scientific basis. Outdoor exercise on a regular basis, such as walking 2 to 3 miles a day, will boost the immune system function. Taking multivitamin supplements have helped in curing warts.


3. Palliative or symptomatic treatment is useful for painful plantar warts because the pain from plantar warts can be intense. The best palliative treatment is to use a corn doughnut pad or use an insert with a hole cut out of the insert over the painful wart.


4. A word of caution: There are a great number of treatments for plantar warts. When there are many treatments for a condition, this tells you that no one of the treatments is completely successful for all cases. It appears that directing the treatment to improving the general immunity of the body is preferable to local treatment of the wart.


5. Prevention: Plantar warts cannot always be prevented, however certain things will help:

a) If your immunity is known to be compromised, avoid public swimming pools, bathing areas, or using the same bathing facility (if there is a choice) with a family member who is known to have warts.

b) Avoid what you know will stress your body and decrease your immunity. Avoid over-fatigue or exposure, chilling your body.

c) Good health, including a healthy immune system comes from good nutrition, balanced exercise, rest, and a healthy life-style that avoids harmful habits like smoking, drinking addicting beverages, and excesses of any type.



6. Local Treatment: As has been suggested above, local treatment is less beneficial than general, immune system building treatment. However, for very painful plantar warts there is a place for local treatment. For the local treatment of choice, we are indebted to Dr. William Wagner, MD, of Los Angeles now at the Loma Linda University Medical Center for popularizing. Dr. Wagner tells of a specific medication that he used to use with great success until it was no longer manufactured. By necessity he was forced to use alternate medications. To his pleasure he found out that the medication did not seem to make much difference. It appeared that almost any medication would be equally effective for plantar warts. He now believes the effectiveness of the treatment depends upon the patient's own immune system for its effect. The treatment has the role of decreasing the nutrients from the body to the virus colony, thus weakening the viruses and allowing the body to win the battle. This is Dr. Wagner's method of treatment:

The wart is injected at its base. What material is used to inject the wart does not appear to be critical. The treatment has a physical effect of separating the wart in the upper layers of the skin from the underlying deeper layers of the skin where the blood supply and nourishment is found. The amount injected is determined by how much material can be injected into the lower portion of the upper layers of skin. A separation occurs between the upper and lower layers of the skin where the material is being injected. This has the effect of separating the virus from its nutrient source and weakens the virus and in over 70% of the time the wart dies and over 90% of the time there is relief of pain symptoms. The two commonest medications injected today are local anesthetic agents such as Novocaine or Lidocaine 1%. The only hazard to this treatment is sensitivity reaction to the agent injected. In some cases several injections are necessary for cure.

Yes, rubing a plantar wart with garlic at midnight will likely help remove a plantar wart. It would work better if you went to bed early and simply taped the garlic on the wart. Garlic has antiviral chemicals in it. And yes vitamins will help improve your immune system and help get rid of plantar warts. The influence of our brains over our body is so great that anything we believe will help cure something does have a beneficial effect about in the proportion of the firmness of our belief in it. Didn't Jesus say "Be it unto you according to your faith"? Yes, He did and He is right!