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How to Get Rid of Common Warts Under the Nails
Warts are small growths on the skin caused by a virus 1. They're unsightly, sometimes contagious, and above all, tricky to get rid of. Especially difficult to deal with are subungal and periungual warts, which appear under the fingernails and toenails 1. Because of their hard-to-reach placement, they require a special approach to eradication.
Treating warts under fingernails and toenails
Identify them. Subungal and periungal warts look similar to other warts: ugly, rough bumps with uneven borders that sometimes resemble cauliflower 12. They are usually lighter or darker than the skin around them.
How to Correct Upward Toenails
File down nails and the wart. Warts under the nail are more difficult to get rid of than other warts because they are difficult to reach 1. One option is to make them easier to treat by clipping and filing nails away from the wart; this is only an option if the wart is closer to the tip of the nail than to the base. Soak your finger in warm water, then file away the edge of the nail and across the top of the nail with a smoother file to make the nail thinner. If you can, also file away at whatever part of the wart you can reach. Then be sure to throw away the file to avoid spreading more warts 1.
Try over-the-counter treatments. Apply over-the-counter treatments to your wart, following the directions on the packaging. After you've applied the treatment, cover with a bandage and repeat regularly, based on the product's directions.
How to Flatten a Curved Toenail
See a doctor. If after trying home remedies, your warts still haven't cleared, or if you're unable to get to the wart because it's too far down on the nail bed, see your doctor 1. A general practitioner or a dermatologist can prescribe stronger medications and can also refer you to laser-based treatments, which can get at the wart without damaging the nail above.
Not all over-the-counter treatments are created equal. Look for salicylic acid in the highest concentration you can find.
Remember that most warts will go away on their own eventually, and that it's likely that warts, treated or not, might return.
Prevent further infection to yourself and to others by keeping your nails short (to discourage biting, which can open the route to infection), and by washing your hands on a regular basis.
- Subungal and periungal warts look similar to other warts: ugly, rough bumps with uneven borders that sometimes resemble cauliflower 1.
- Apply over-the-counter treatments to your wart, following the directions on the packaging.
How to Correct Upward Toenails
How to Flatten a Curved Toenail
How to Remove Plantar Warts With Tweezers
How to Remove Seed Warts
How to Remove Warts Around the Eye
Hair Growth From Warts
How to Use Sea Salt to Cure Toenail Fungus
Benzoyl Peroxide for Warts
How to Use Dr. Scholl's Freeze Away Wart Remover
How to Remove Anal Warts
- "Periungal warts"
- InformedHealth.org. Warts: Overview. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Updated November 7, 2019.
- InformedHealth.org. What are the treatment options for warts? Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Updated November 7, 2019.
- Al Aboud AM, Nigam PK. Wart (Plantar, Verruca Vulgaris, Verrucae). Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing. Updated September 27, 2019.
- Liu J, Li H, Yang F, et al. Epidemiology and Clinical Profile of Cutaneous Warts in Chinese College Students: A Cross-Sectional and Follow-Up Study. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):15450. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-33511-x
- Goldman RD. Duct tape for warts in children: Should nature take its course?. Can Fam Physician. 2019;65(5):337-338.
- Cockayne S, Hewitt C, Hicks K, et al. Cryotherapy versus salicylic acid for the treatment of plantar warts (verrucae): a randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2011;342:d3271. doi:10.1136/bmj.d3271
- Baker DA, Ferris DG, Martens MG, et al. Imiquimod 3.75% cream applied daily to treat anogenital warts: combined results from women in two randomized, placebo-controlled studies. Infect Dis Obstet Gynecol. 2011;2011:806105. doi:10.1155/2011/806105
- Gaston A, Garry RF. Topical vitamin A treatment of recalcitrant common warts. Virol J. 2012;9:21. doi:10.1186/1743-422X-9-21
- Walczuk I, Eertmans F, Rossel B, et al. Efficacy and safety of three cryotherapy devices for wart treatment: A randomized, controlled, investigator-blinded, comparative study. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2018;8(2):203-16. doi:10.1007/s13555-017-0210-5
- Dalimunthe DA, Siregar R, Tanjung C. Comparative clinical efficacy between electrodesiccation with curettage and application of 80% phenol solution in treatment of common warts. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2018;6(2):326-9. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2018.074
- Chauhan PS, Mahajan VK, Mehta KS, Rawat R, Sharma V. The efficacy and safety of intralesional immunotherapy with measles, mumps, rubella virus vaccine for the treatment of common warts in adults. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2019;10(1):19-26. doi:10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_142_18
- Nofal A, Elkot R, Nofal E, Mazen M. Combination therapy versus monotherapy in the treatment of recalcitrant warts: A clinical and immunological study. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018;2018;12848. doi:10.1111/jocd.12848
- Raghukumar S, Ravikumar BC, Vinay KN, et al. Intralesional vitamin D injection in the treatment of recalcitrant warts: A novel proposition. J Cutan Med Surg. 2017;21(4):320-4. doi:10.1177/1203475417704180
Jenette Sturges has been a writer and editor since 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from the University of Illinois. As a Fulbright Scholar, she taught English at Hanoi Pedagogical University No. 2 in Vietnam. Her writing and editing have appeared in "The Daily Illini," "The (Anderson, Ind.) Herald-Bulletin," and she has ghostwriten for numerous companies and organizations worldwide.