If you’ve ever dealt with warts on your hands or feet, you know how annoying they are.
It can take weeks of treatment to eradicate the bastards; you sometimes have to wait them out. I once had a wart on a toe that took 6 months of at-home treatment before it was gone.
And recently, one of my training friends forgot his gloves at home and borrowed a pair from his sparring partner. Little did he know he’d develop warts on his hands a few weeks later!
Warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be contagious. Warts are not dangerous, but they are 100% unpleasant and inconvenient.
These pesky skin growths can spread through indirect contact – like sharing gloves. That’s why we all need to be careful what we touch in the gym, including our boxing gear.
The rest of this article is focused on how this happens and what you can do to keep your hands wart-free.
Can Boxing Gloves Cause Warts?
Is there a link between boxing gloves and warts? Fortunately, there is a clear answer and simple solutions we can all take in the gym.
Why Warts LOVE Gyms
Warts are small, raised bumps on the skin caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV thrives in warm, damp environments, like gyms, locker rooms, and shared training equipment.
With this in mind, practicing good hygiene and always cleaning your boxing gloves and hand wraps are important habits to learn.
How Boxing Gloves May Play a Role
Boxing gloves, like any other shared equipment, can become breeding grounds for bacteria, fungi, and viruses if not cleaned and maintained correctly.
However, there’s something you should keep in mind. While boxing gloves can harbor HPV and cause warts, the chances of contracting HPV through boxing gloves are relatively low.
You may be more at risk if you frequently share gloves or use communal gloves at your gym. In that case, investing in personal gloves and cleaning them regularly is highly recommended.
So what can you do to minimize your risk of getting warts from boxing gloves?
- Thoroughly wash your hands before and after using gloves.
- Wipe down gloves inside and outside after each use.
- Avoid sharing gloves whenever possible!
- Let your gloves air dry in a well-ventilated area.
By taking these precautions, you’ll reduce your chances of getting warts and help maintain the overall hygiene of your gym.
Prevention is Key
Keeping your boxing gloves in top condition and doing the proper hand hygiene is your front-line defense to preventing warts and other skin problems.
Here are simple steps we can all take to minimize the chances of spreading warts at the gym.
#1 Maintain Hand Hygiene
We know warts are caused by a virus transmitted through touch, so keeping your hands clean is job one.
Get into the habit of washing your hands with soap and water before and after workouts. I like keeping a hand sanitizer bottle in my locker for added protection.
Since warts can take some time to appear, it’s good practice to check your hands and fingers for any signs of warts. Cover it with a waterproof bandage at the first sign of a wart before putting on your gloves. This will help prevent the spread of the virus into your gloves.
Last, hand wraps or glove liners add a layer of protection between your hands and gloves. Not only do wraps protect your knuckles, but they absorb sweat and can reduce bacterial buildup.
#2 Clean Your Damn Gloves!
Now that your hands are good, let’s talk about glove hygiene.
We ALL need to keep our boxing gloves clean and dry. Sweaty, stank-ass gloves are the worst. After each workout, wipe down the outer surfaces of your gloves with a soft damp cloth.
Chemical cleaners can damage the outer glove material, so we’ll avoid those. Instead, use diluted white vinegar to kill bacteria and deodorize your gloves.
Cleaning is only the first step. You’ve got to allow your gloves to air-dry in a temperate area with adequate air circulation. Never leave your gloves stashed away in a damp, stuffy environment, like your gym bag or locker.
These actions are so simple and easy to do. It’s a wonder not everyone follows them!
You Got Warts from Boxing Gloves – Now What?
Let us pretend for a bit that you aren’t always a clean freak. Maybe you shared gloves or got lazy with your cleaning regimen – and now you have a wart or two on your hands.
I won’t sugarcoat it, warts are not fun to deal with, and you’ll need to be persistent, but there are a few proven ways to take care of them.
Warts are common and harmless, and we are also not doctors – so your mileage may vary with these methods. Always consult your doctor.
The best thing to start with is salicylic acid. Get the brush-on kind, which has concentrations ranging from 17% to 40%.
Soak your hand for 10 to 15 minutes while taking a shower. After that, gently file away the dead warty skin with an emery board or pumice stone. Then brush on the salicylic acid solution to the wart. Be patient and consistent, and soon, the wart should disappear.
Another trick is covering the wart with a bandage, leaving it on between treatments. When you leave the shower, the skin softens and often peels off with little effort. Repeat this process until all the little blackheads are gone.
Visit the Dermatolagist
Some warts are stubborn SOBs. If the at-home stuff didn’t work after a few months, it’s time to bring in the pros.
A dermatologist can use lasers or liquid nitrogen to burn or freeze the affected areas. This can be painful on sensitive areas like hands, and it may take several visits to eradicate the warts.
Whatever treatment option you choose, act quickly; the longer the warts are allowed to fester, the harder they are to get rid of. And always keep those boxing gloves clean!
To recap, warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which loves the warm, damp environment found in gyms and sweaty boxing gloves.
A good defense is the best offense against ever getting warts from boxing gloves. These are the key points to remember and follow in your daily workouts.
- Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands before AND after every workout, especially after wearing gloves. Soap, water, and hand sanitizer can limit your exposure.
- Glove Hygiene: Wipe off, sanitize, and dry out your boxing gloves after each and every workout. Do not store them in an enclosed area like a locker.
- Don’t Share Gloves: While trying out someone else’s gear can be tempting, it’s best not to share gloves to minimize the spread of warts.
- Buy Quality Gloves: Investing in well-made gloves with good ventilation can help. For example, the Hayabusa T3 Boxing Gloves offer great wrist support and have an excellent reputation.
- Monitor Your Hands: Check over your hands and wrists for any signs of warts, and get an early jump on treatment.
Warts from boxing gloves can be mostly avoided with good hygiene, using your own gloves, and keeping them clean. Remember the key points above and confidently enjoy your boxing and martial arts practice!