Treatments of Plantar Warts
Patients will often treat plantar warts themselves by using over the counter products such as salicylic acid or freezing medications. Overzealous usage of these preparations can lead to further injury. Self-treatment many times can be frustrating because many of these products are usually not strong enough to treat plantar warts. It’s always best to have podiatrist treat these lesions. We typically use or prescribe medications that are more potent.
Here are a few common treatment methods for plantar warts:
The key to treating plantar warts is to have the doctor shave down as much of the wart tissue as possible. In doing so a higher cure rate can be achieved.
Salicylic acid is usually the most common form of medication used. Professional grade salicylic acid is around 40%. More commonly known products such as Dr. Scholl’s wart remover and Compound W are not as effective because they are lower in strength thus less effective in treating plantar warts. Length of treatment with acid depends on how many plantar warts exist and for how long they gave been present. The longer you have plantar warts and the more you have them, the longer it will take to treat.
Liquid Nitrogen and other freezing medication products that reach temperatures of minus 70 degrees are applied to the wart to freeze the external structure of the wart thus destroying them. Using this method also may require multiple visits as well. Patients usually tolerate this method well with very few after effects. Scarring is minimal.
Canthacur is a very effective medication used in treatment because of its ability to eat away at wart tissue. Patients are advised that painful blisters may develop as a result of treatment and are instructed on care if they do develop.
New technology has enabled doctors to use laser to destroy the wart. Laser treatments are usually not a first line treatment, but can be used on large or hard to cure warts. Patients usually will need a local anesthetic prior to treatment. Once anesthetized the heat generated by laser will destroy the wart. Patients are advised that blistering can occur as well after treatment. Resistant warts may necessitate multiple sessions
Surgical excision is the last resort if all else fails. The procedure can be done in the office as a minor procedure. The patient will need a local anesthetic and after the plantar wart is excised the base is usually burned with an electric current. Depending on size of the lesion walking may be difficult but will take approximately two weeks to heal.
Remember that warts are usually caused by contact of moist surfaces with the compromised skin. To minimize recurrence, always try to create a dry environment for your foot and changing socks daily, sprinkling powder in shoes and or applying or a drying agent directly on your foot. Also avoid walking barefoot around swimming pools and locker rooms. Disinfect bathtubs after usage to minimize spreading to other family members or other household members. Do not pick at them as they may spread to your hands.