I have recently seen several kids at the public pool wearing pieces of duct tape underneath their feet to cover their plantar warts. However, is this method really effective in the treatment of warts? The scientific community suggests that this may not be the best option.
The practice of duct tape to cover warts was first used by Dr. Jerome Litt in 1951 while he was a medical resident in dermatology in Brooklyn, New York. In early 2000, several researchers studied the effect of duct tape on warts. Some believed that by preventing air contact, the wart would “suffocate” and ultimately die. Others believed that the chemicals used in the adhesive of the duct tape would irritate the skin, thus increase the body’s immune response, which would naturally eliminate the wart.
After years of research, the theory that duct tape placement over warts has not been shown to be any better than a placebo. The duct tape certainly isn’t going to suffocate the wart, it feeds off the body’s blood, which has more than enough oxygen to keep the virus alive. Moreover, using duct tape has side effects, including redness, eczema, itching and bleeding! Treatment of warts, especially for a child, should be aimed at reducing symptoms while minimizing side effects. Keep in mind that more than 60% of warts will go away within two years without any treatment.
Plantar warts are very common. If you or your child has a foot lesion that is painful or increasing in size, please seek appropriate medical attention. The podiatrists at Atlantic Foot & Ankle Specialists treat plantar warts frequently, so making an appointment with us is sure to save you the frustration of a potential sticky situation.