Warts ( verruca )

John A. Brandeisky, DPM, FACFS

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Dr. John Brandeisky

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Warts are caused by the papova ( human papilloma ) virus. It is the same virus when the warts occur on the hands or the feet or anywhere else on the body. They are called "plantar warts" because they occur on the plantar aspect ( bottom or sole ) of the foot.

It is extremely important that you tell the doctor if you have a wart anywhere else on your body. In order to achieve better success with removal of the wart or warts on your foot, all your warts should be treated.

For your feet we always choose the most conservative approach. It is a topical approach that is painless but takes time. It uses topical salicylates that harden the wart and remove it slowly over days. Part of the effect using this method is to allow the body to develop an immune response against the wart. If the immune reaction occurs it is within 4 to 6 weeks after treatment is initiated. The wart simply falls out because it rests on the first layer of skin cells and does not go as deep as you think. No scar forms with this method usually, which is important for the bottom of the foot since scars are permanent and can hurt worse than warts.

If the topical method fails, the wart needs to be surgically removed. This is done in the office with simple local anesthesia so it is painless. This method also does not leave a scar.

Sometimes patients ask about using the laser beam, radio therapy or electro-cautery or freezing. I do not like these methods because their destructive cell capabilities go beyond the edges of the wart and usually cause scars or painful areas. They are no more effective than simple topical or surgical removal.

Warts are notorious for returning. This is because it is a virus and it can spread or be contagious. After excision, care must be taken to treat any new smaller warts immediately with simple topical techniques.


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