If you’ve never had a wart chances are you’ll have one or more in your lifetime. Studies show that we all have a 7-10 % chance of contracting a wart(s). What causes these nasty little bumps to appear when we least expect them? Well, it depends on the type of wart or more precisely where the wart is located. At Cambridge Physiotherapy & Rehab Center we provide the treatment and the knowledge necessary to keep your feet healthy.
Common warts are the ones you get on your hands. Plantar warts are the ones you get on your feet. Then there are Peritoneal warts, otherwise known as Pubic warts. Common or Plantar warts are caused by only one strain of over 120 different strains of HPV (Human Pappiloma Virus). Peritoneal/Pubic warts are caused by a completely different strain. That being said, the HPV vaccine doesn’t work to help cure or prevent Common or Plantar warts. The HPV vaccine is only designed to protect us from warts that are sexually transmitted. Common and Plantar warts can be treated by a Foot Specialist (Foot Care Nurse/Chiropodist/Podiatrist) or Dermatologist. Peritoneal/Pubic warts require immediate medical attention and are best treated by your G.P. or Nurse Practitioner. Today we will be taking a closer look at Common and Plantar warts.
Let’s first look at how warts are contracted.
The HPV virus enters the bloodstream via broken or thin skin. Once the virus enters the bloodstream it is there for life. It remains dormant and comes out at random times. Those of us with weakened immune systems are at greater risk but a wart can develop at times of good health too. Common or Plantar warts are transmitted through moisture or blood contact ie: wet gym/pool shower floors, concrete poolside or direct contact with a bleeding wart. Gross! That is why every good Foot Specialist will advise you to wear flip flops in gym or pool showers and poolside.
Common and Plantar warts can be treated at home if they are very small, shallow and not clustered. If they are large, deep, stubborn or clustered you will need to see a Foot Specialist or perhaps a Dermatologist.
In the case of Plantar warts it is advisable to have a Foot Specialist (Foot Care Nurse/Chiropodist/Podiatrist) or Dermatologist remove the dead callused skin that tends to build up over top of the wart. This is most effectively and efficiently done using a scalpel in the hands of the trained professional. The Foot Specialist and the Dermatologist are trained to remove only the dead tissue and not cause bleeding. Removal of the dead callused tissue prior to treatment will allow the treatment of choice to penetrate deeper and thereby make it much more effective. Removal of the dead tissue can sometimes decrease the number of repeat treatments required–which is super great news when you just want to get rid of the wart asap!
There are 5 commonly used treatment options for Common and Plantar warts. Some are OTC (over the counter) which you can use at home and some have to be administered by a Foot Specialist or Dermatologist. The 3 treatment options foot care specialists use are as follows:
1) Acids, like Salicylic Acid 40% (Compound W) can be used either at home or by your Foot Specialist. It is often not enough to cure stubborn warts on it’s own, but combining this with other methods is highly effective.
2) Cryogenics, these freeze the wart to below 70 degrees C to kill off the blood supply. Two examples of cryogenic treatments are: 1) Liquid Nitrogen (must be administered by a Foot Specialist, Dermatologist or Health Practitioner) or 2) Dimethyl Ether (Dr. Scholl’s Freeze Off) which can be used either at home or by a Foot Specialist. Dimethyl Ether works best when used in conjunction with Salicylic Acid 40%.
5) Deep tissue surgery, which can only be done by a Surgeon or specially trained Chiropodist or Podiatrist. This is reserved for very deep warts or when all other treatments have failed. The wart is surgically removed along with a small amount of healthy tissue to make sure the entire wart is gone.
Whatever treatment you choose, remember consistency is key to effective treatment and eradication of warts.
For a list of available treatment options from our Advanced Foot Care Nurse and pricing visit our clinic or contact us at 519-219-5428.