Warts: What Works (and What Doesn’t)

by | Aug 18, 2017

Warts are stubborn viral growths. They are caused by certain strains of a common virus—human papillomavirus (HPV)—that are contagious and can reside in warm, damp, and dark environments. A plantar wart can be reasonably harmless enough, but they often grow on the underside of the foot and can cause pain and discomfort and embarrassment.

Generally speaking, warts will go away on their own in time. Now, that being said, “in time” can mean “up to a couple of years.” Since you probably don’t want to wait that long, you will likely want to have the problem treated.

As we look at the options for appropriate wart treatment, it’s important to start by noting that if you are diabetic you need to receive professional treatment. Make sure you keep on the lookout for plantar warts during your daily foot inspections and contact us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible after you find a wart on your foot. We are able to take care of it for you with the use of safe procedures in a sterile environment.

If you are an otherwise healthy individual, you can certainly attempt to handle a case of warts on your own. When doing so, do not attempt to cut the wart out by using “bathroom surgery.” Doing so puts you at risk for damage (accidentally cutting yourself in an unintended location) and infection. There is a quite a difference between a medically-sterile environment and even the cleanest of homes.

Having ruled that out, you might want to try using an over-the-counter wart removal kit from a pharmacy or retail store. These kinds of products typically use salicylic acid to destroy the viral growth, but they can also damage healthy skin surrounding the wart. Further, these kits usually have a spotty record with regards to how well they actually work. If you want to try this approach, please take measures to ensure the product doesn’t damage any of the healthy skin around the wart.

Professional treatment options for plantar warts include cryotherapy, medication, surgery, and sometimes even laser therapy. Cryotherapy uses an extremely cold substance to freeze the growth. Medication is often topical, with retinoid cream, imiquimod, and cantharidin being common prescriptions. Surgery, including procedures performed with lasers, remove the unwanted wart in a safe, effective manner. Lasers may also be used to destroy the virus behind the wart and enhance the immune response to the area.

Given that warts can take up to a couple of years to disappear and may cause discomfort or pain, you might want to schedule your appointment and receive the professional care you consistently expect to receive here at Waukesha Foot Specialists. Fortunately, making an appointment with our office is easy. Simply give us a call at (262) 544-0700 or use our online form—found at the bottom of this page—to contact us today.

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