Introduction: Effective Plantar Wart / Verruca Cure Using Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy (DTOT)
Over 8 years I tried many ways to get rid of an increasing large verruca (plantar wart) on my heel. Nothing worked until I tried Duct Tape. I'm quite a scientific person so was pleased to find several academic studies supporting the successful use of Duct Tape in treating verrucas. There is obviously a huge pharmaceutical industry motivated to sell all kinds of expensive treatments and I'm sure they don't like the idea that a few cents worth of Duct Tape is all you really need. OK, so this really did work for me but I'm just a sample size of n=1 so it is worth reading what the academics found too.
In the picture above I have drawn a red blob on my foot where the Verruca used to be, showing roughly how big it was. If you google verruca you will see some horrific pictures - this is one that looked like mine (though mine was bigger).
Before you read further, please be aware that my verruca was on my foot and didn't hurt much at all. If you verruca is somewhere more serious, or where the skin is softer, like your face, hands or genitals, don't follow this advice at all before speaking with a proper doctor.
You might like to know that I do indeed have an allergy to plasters and I had no problem at all with the tape on my foot for 6 days at a time.
I had a verruca (plantar wart) on my foot for YEARS. I think I picked it up swimming. As a regular swimmer i tried hard to treat it so I didn't spread it to my friends but I never managed to get rid of it until I tried the Duct Tape.
Here's what I tried over 8 years:
- Salicylic Acid - looked promising at first but never solved it despite weeks of trying;
- waiting 8 years - a Doctor told me they went away naturally in 2 years (rubbish)
- expensive spray freeze kit - not very effective at all
- dry ice administered from the doctor - this hurt so much that i had to use a walking stick for a week afterwards and it ultimately didn't work and seemed to make it bigger.
The last thing I tried hurt so much I had to use a walking stick because my limping was hurting my back so much. I was actually quite surprised this didn't work (especially since it hurt so much).
It was around this time that we were having kids and my partner was pretty clear that she didn't want the kids catching my verruca. I heard rumours of this Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy (DTOT) and thought I would try it. It worked like a dream!
Step 1: You Will Need
1. Verucca on your foot
2. Salicylic Acid
3. Duct Tape
4. Pumice Stone, Emery Board or similar skin scraper
5. Convincing references (see below)
Duct tape occlusion therapy (wikipedia). This tells us that Duct Tape is not conclusively proven to be a more effective treatment
The efficacy of duct tape vs cryotherapy in the treatment of verruca vulgaris (the common wart) Focht et al 2002. This study found that in 85% of cases, duct tape treatments cured the wart, compared with 60% in the cryotherapy group.
Efficacy of Duct Tape vs Placebo in the Treatment of Verruca Vulgaris (Warts) in Primary School Children Haen et al 2006. This study found no significant difference between duct tape and a placebo but I note that they did not use actual duct tape and indeed suggested that the tape they used lacked stickiness.
Step 2: Method
This method is derived from the Focht (2002) paper referenced previously but has the additional step of using Salicylic Acid
1. Apply Salicylic Acid to Verruca (as directed) and let it dry [this step is optional but may speed things up]
2. Cut a piece of Duct Tape that is a bit larger than the Verruca and apply it.
3. Wash your hands - you don't want to be spreading that thing, so clean up!
4. Leave the Duct Tape on the wart for 6 days straight (in the unlikely event of it falling off, immediately replace it with another piece). I managed to do several swim sessions a week and the Duct Tape stayed stuck to my foot the whole time.
5. After 6 days remove the tape. You will see some pretty dead and smelly skin under there. Don't be alarmed. Give it a soak and a wash, then use a pumice stone or emery board on it. Leave the tape off overnight and then follow steps 1 to 3 above in the morning to re-cover it for another 6 days.
6. Keep an eye on your skin. If you see any irritation, stop doing this immediately. In any case, the original Focht paper suggested doing this for no more than 2 months or until the Verruca is gone. That is probably good advice.
Nobody was more surprised than me when this worked. I suspect the Salicylic Acid helped with the effectiveness of this approach but also, critically, the extra stickiness of the Duct Tape let me live my normal life, swimming 3 times a week, without the tape falling off.
Good luck with yours!