One of the most common causes of a thick, rough skin type of growth on the bottom of the foot is warts. These can be painful to walk on, especially if left to grow larger. They can rest dormant, grow in size, change shape, and even send out satellite lesions, which are new, smaller warts on other areas of the foot. Warts are relatively easy to treat when located on most areas of the body, where the skin is thin. On the bottom of the foot the skin is thick, and can harbor a large amount of wart tissue. The larger the wart is the more persistent it can be to treatment.
What is a Wart?
A wart is a skin growth that is caused by viral infection. Warts are fairly common, with approximately three million cases in the US per year. On the bottom of the foot, warts can have a varied appearance. Sometimes they will appear white with a bumpy cauliflower shape. Other times, they will look like a thickened hard area of skin with tiny black dots. They can appear in a well defined oval or circular shape or have irregular borders. When the wart is on the bottom of the foot it is termed a “plantar wart.” Plantar warts may be painful to walk on, and can be difficult to treat. Traditional treatment methods, such as cryotherapy, are often painful, and require multiple sessions and are frequently unsuccessful in eradicating the wart.
In complex cases, these options may not even be effective.
What Causes a Plantar Wart?
Warts are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Like any virus, warts are spread through contact. The virus enters the skin on the bottom of the foot through a small opening or pore. This can happen easily when the skin is dry or callused, and just starting to crack on the outer layer. Walking barefoot on surfaces where the virus is present is usually how the wart is contracted. The virus thrives in warm and moist environments, making locker rooms and swimming pools a common source of infection. It can take as long as six months to develop a wart after the skin has come into contact with the virus, making it difficult to identify the source of the infection.
What are Wart Symptoms?
Symptoms of plantar warts include:
Growths on the bottom of the foot, which may be rough or grainy
New appearance of a discrete area of hard, thickened skin
Black pinpoints in the center of the growth, which are clotted blood vessels
Pain to the warty area of the foot when walking
Bleeding when the warty area is filed with a pumice stone or foot file
How Are Warts Treated?
There are many traditional treatments for warts. Unfortunately, these treatments have low success rates for plantar warts. This is because the wart can infect and reside in the full thickness of skin, which is pretty thick on the bottom of the foot. Traditional treatments act on the outer surface of the wart, and need to be reapplied frequently in an attempt to “kill off” the wart bit by bit until the deeper part of the wart is gone. However, while the outer surface of the wart is being treated, the under surface can thrive and grow.
Traditional wart treatments include:
Topical application of acids to “burn” the wart
Topical application of liquid nitrogen to “freeze” the wart
Off label prescription creams that are typically used for skin cancer
New, Effective Plantar Wart Treatment
Swift Microwave Therapy, is the most effective treatment for plantar warts. Swift uses microwave energy that stimulates the body’s immune system to attack the virus from the inside out. In simple terms, the Swift treatment breaks down a protein on the underside of the wart. This sends a signal to our immune system to kick into gear and get rid of the wart naturally. When treating the wart from the inside out, the wart can be completely removed. Often people will haveWith traditional treatments a wart can recede and look like it’s gone. Viruses are microscopic however. So the traditional treatments may not reach the deeper skin and leave some cells infected. The wart will then regrow. With the Swift treatment, that doesn’t happen.
Advantages of Swift Plantar Wart Treatment:
No tissue destruction
No at home care needed
Older methods of treating a wart, like applying acids or freezing with liquid nitrogen, work by damaging the outer layer of skin. They burn or freeze whatever skin they touch, both healthy and warty skin. Layer by layer of skin is burned or frozen until all of the wart is gone. For deeper or older warts, this means several repeated treatments, and damage to healthy surrounding skin. This causes blistering, skin irritation, and sometimes even painful wounds or ulceration.
Swift treatment for Plantar warts is available at Ace Feet. IF you’d like to talk to the doctor to have your foot looked at and your questions answered, we’d be happy to schedule a wart consult for you. You can call the office 781-901-4896, or check our schedule for availability and book online here.