Warts are a stubborn skin growth that develop from an infection of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They are often a source of frustration to people because they look abnormal to the rest of the skin, they can get knocked and then bleed easily and profusely, they are contagious and are typically painful, stubborn and hard to treat.

So what are plantar warts?

Plantar warts are essentially the same thing as warts anywhere else on the body with one small difference— they are underneath your feet! So what’s the big deal with that? Well, every time you put your foot on the ground it hurts because you have a prominent skin growth underneath that adds to the pressure of that area. To make matters worse, if it was already difficult to remove stubborn warts elsewhere in the body, plantar warts are typically harder again! This is because there is usually an extra layer of dead skin (callous) that develops over the top of the wart which makes it even more uncomfortable and even more difficult to apply the treatments directly to the wart itself.

How are they treated?

Because warts are an infection, most conventional treatments aim to trigger an immune response in which the body rejects and destroys a foreign object, in this case the wart growth. The most effective way to achieve this response is to damage the surrounding skin and underlying dermal tissues of the wart. This hopefully brings the body’s vascular supply (and associated inflammatory markers and immune cells) into contact with the virus. Once these cells come into contact with the virus they generally react similar to any other infection of the skin of the body – with redness, tenderness, swelling, exuding pus and sebaceous fluids. The wart then is destroyed and comes away within a couple of days and can leave a small wound behind that can be quite painful to walk on.

How can a podiatrist help?

A podiatrist has techniques to remove the layer of callus that forms over the surface of the wart which inhibits the effectiveness of the treatments. After those layers have been removed the podiatrist will apply a concentrated acid. Acid pastes are carefully placed on the warty area and act as a mild caustic to slowly destroy the wart virus and surrounding skin. Protective padding is adhered into position to prevent the acid from smearing onto healthy skin. The foot should be kept clean and dry until the follow up with your podiatrist.

Viricidal agents, which can be purchased from your local chemist, are also effective chemical treatments. They act specifically on the wart virus and hence can be used very safely. Your podiatrist will remove as much of the warty area as possible. The agent should then be applied over the warty areas at least twice a day as per instructions. Your podiatrist will then remove the affected skin/tissue in one to two weeks and advise on further treatment.

It is important to note that there is no way to determine how many treatments it may require for complete eradication of your wart/s.  Treatment times vary depending on the depth of the wart, the length of time it has been present, the extent of ongoing exposure to environments that can reinfect the area and even more than these – the person’s immunity. Most conventional treatments depend on the body’s immune system responding to fully eradicate the wart and this is different from person to person. It’s worth discussing with your podiatrist to determine what treatment is best for you and what the expected treatment time frames will be.

If you are unsure about which treatment is right for you, get in touch with us by >>BOOKING ONLINE TODAY<< or you can call us on (02) 4323 9100 for further information.