Plantar Warts: Early Treatment

Andrew B. Green
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Plantar warts are a common condition we treat at Atlantic Foot and Ankle Associates. They are noncancerous skin growths that commonly occur on the soles of your feet. They are caused by the human papillomavirus which enters the body through tiny openings or cuts in the feet. They most commonly occur in children or patients with autoimmune deficiencies. Most plantar warts are not serious in nature, but if left untreated can spread to other parts of the body and even become painful.

They often occur as a small flesh-colored callus on the bottom of the foot. They typically have black pinpoint discoloration in the middle of the lesion which is a characteristic feature of plantar warts. They can present as a single lesion, as multiple lesions or one large lesion called a mosaic wart.

Left untreated they can potentially disappear on their own, but commonly take up to 7 years to do so. Because of its potential to spread and cause pain it is better to have it treated as soon as possible. Even though they are a virus they are not highly contagious.

There are many different treatment options for treating plantar warts such as topical treatments, injection therapy and laser destruction. We perform all these treatments at all four of our offices located in Daytona Beach, Palm Coast, Port Orange, and Orange City. Each treatment is chosen depending on the size, location and effectiveness of other treatments in the past.

The topical treatment is the most commonly used method of treatment in our office for single lesions. This consists of debriding (trimming) the wart and then applying a strong salicylic acid compound to the area. This is effective roughly 85-90% of the time. If unfortunately this method fails after two or three attempts then an injection therapy is usually performed. This is where we inject a live yeast under the wart and in response the body fights and rids both the yeast and wart simultaneously. If this too fails, then our laser method is our last line of defense for this condition. This is more aggressive in which we numb the area with a local anesthetic and then burn the wart with a high power laser. Though this is a highly effective treatment method it does have a downside in which there is an increase of healing time (3 to 4 weeks).

Preventive medicine is the best medicine for plantar warts. This consists of avoiding direct contact to warts, keeping your feet clean and dry, avoid going barefoot in public areas, don't pick at warts (this may cause them to spread), and washing your hands. If you feel you may have a plantars wart do not hesitate to treat it. The sooner it is treated, the better the outcome.

Photo Credit: How Soon Ngu via UnSplash.com

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