Do you have questions about Plantar Warts? We have answers.

Do you have questions about foot injuries or the causes of plantar warts? Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider provides the answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about plantar warts. If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to Dr. Schneider about your plantar warts, call Tanglewood Foot Specialists at (713) 785-7881.

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  • What is a plantar wart?

    Plantar warts are a common problem. I'm guessing you've had one...or you know someone (like your child) who did. Sometimes, we call this condition a verruca. And sometimes it shows up alone, as a single lesion. But othertimes, an army of plantar warts takes over your whole foot. Heck, they're contagious (more on that later.) So they can even spread through your household!

    Obviously, you want to treat plantar warts before they spread. And, at the drug store, you'll find many over-the-counter treatments for plantar warts. Now, some will work, and some won't. Why is that the case? The answers lie in understanding the nature of plantar warts. Which I'll get to right now.

    What is a Plantar Wart? An example of a plantar wart lesion

    A plantar wart is a growth, usually on the bottom of the foot. But it isn't part of your skin--it's actually caused by a virus. And that virus is is the human papilloma virus (HPV). (That's the same virus responsible for certain types of cancers in adults. Usually, the virus clears up on its own. But sometimes it doesn't, which is why there's now an HPV vaccine. But if you have the warts, you have HPV. So let's focus on what to do next.)

    Now, the HPV that gives you warts has nothing to do with intimate contact. Instead, it makes it's way into your body through a crack in your skin. And then, anything can happen.

    In some cases, you get lucky, and only one wart develops. But other times the virus spreads. And the warts form in patches of two, three or even more warts. That's when you'll seek treatment. Which is important, but here's where you need to understand plantar warts.

    Remember, a virus causes plantar warts. So let's think about that for a minute. You know how antibiotics don't treat viruses such as colds? Well, plantar wart treatments don't get rid of your HPV infection. All they do is address your viral symptom, the plantar wart itself.

    Because of that, plantar warts often return after treatment. (I'll discuss lasting treatments later in this post.) And, for that reason, avoiding infection is your best defense. Of course, to do that, you need to understand how you get plantar warts. Which you will, if you keep reading!

    Plantar Wart Risk Factors

    Anyone can develop plantar warts. But children ages 12 and 16 get them more than anyone. Why is that the case? It's all about lifestyle.

    As I said before, plantar warts develop because of a contagious virus. And one way to catch that virus is by using a public shower, something tweens and teens often do in locker rooms and sleep away camps. Of course, younger children are also at risk. Because kids often walk around barefoot. (Something I actually don't recommend, by the way. For all of these reasons.) One of which is that it ups the chance of that virus getting into cracks on their feet.

    How will you know you're dealing with plantar warts? Symptoms include:

    • A lesion on the bottom of your foot. You'll see black in that wart lesion. These are the small blood vessels keeping your wart alive.
    • When you push on the sides of your wart, it will hurt. (We call this pain with lateral compression, in fancy podiatrist-speak.)
    • Your skin lines disappear at the site of the wart.
    • The area in and around your wart hurts when you stand

    Clearly, warts hurt. Plus, they're contagious. That's why I urge swift treatment for plantar warts. (That's an inside joke, which you'll understand in a minute.)

    Treating Plantar Warts to Prevent Spread

    If you don't treat plantar warts, they can take as long as two years to go away. Or spread across your foot and to your other foot. That's why you need to start treatment once you notice the lesions.

    Tempted to use OTC products? That may be ok, but first, talk to your doctor. Especially if you have diabetes or other conditions that affect your feet. Because, even though you can buy them without a prescription, these at-home treatments are strong. And if you use them the wrong way, they could hurt your feet. 

    More often, in-office plantar wart treatments are safer and more effective. And, today, you have a few different options for treating plantar warts.

    In the past, I often treated warts with a laser, or I froze them. Now, these techniques were a little uncomfortable. But, over time, they got rid of warts. But something was missing.

    You see, those 'old-school' treatments destroyed wart tissue. But they also took out healthy tissue. Which meant some people got scars after treating plantar warts. Plus, warts often came back after treatment.

    I wanted to end the frustration and the scarring. And I went searching for--and found--a better option. It's called Swift treatment for plantar warts.

    What is Swift Therapy? 

    The Swift therapy doesn't work by destroying your wart tissue. Instead, it gives your immune system a boost to help your body fight the wart internally. As a result, fewer than 1% of patients see their warts come back after a Swift treatment. Which is why I call this a cure for plantar warts. And not just a therapy.

    But how does Swift boost your immune system? Well, it uses directed, low-powered, microwave energy. With Swift, I target that energy to your wart, and, in seconds, it gets down below your skin surface. (About 3 mm, to be exact.)

    Once inside, the microwave energy targets heats up water molecules that live in your wart. That heat then uncovers the virus proteins in your wart. Which lets your immune system detect the virus, and fight it off! Quickly, your body builds immunity to HPV. And that cures the virus, and your warts!

    Want to hear the best part? During those three seconds of treatment, most people feel nothing. (Those who do report minor discomfort. Then, as soon as we're done, you don't have any lingering pain. And you certainly won't see scarring or wounds. So you can get back to work and life right away. All while your body is fighting off your warts from the inside.

    Sounds great, right? Well, I'm pretty excited about this lasting cure for plantar warts. And I want to use it to help you get rid of your plantar warts for good! So stop living with painful, contagious, plantar warts now. Call our office today, and ask for Swift: the only real cure for plantar warts!


  • Is a plantar wart the same as a callus?

    A plantar wart and callus are two different things. A callus is a thickening of the skin in an area of high pressure. The outer layer of the skin is "dead" but puts adds to pressure beneath the foot, often causing pain. Treatment for a callus includes padding and the safe removal of the dead skin, often by a foot doctor in Houston.

    A planters wart is a manifestation of a virus on the foot, known as a verruca. A wart can occur anywhere, but a "plantar" wart is specific to the bottom of the foot. While a wart and callus appear similar, they are treated in different ways. A wart becomes intertwined with the healthy skin and is fed by blood vessels. The goal of treatment for a wart is to eliminate the wart tissue but preserve the healthy skin without injury or scarring.

  • Why is it called a plantar wart?

    A plantar wart, also called a planters wart or verruca plantaris, is a wart on the bottom of the foot. The word "plantar" describes the bottom of the foot. A wart, or verruca, can be anywhere on the body but a plantar wart can only be found on the foot.

    A plantar wart can best be treated by a Houston podiatrist. Because the skin on the bottom of the foot is thicker than the rest of the body. Because of this, many treatments that is effective to eliminate warts elsewhere is not useful beneath the foot.

  • Do any OTC medicines help plantar warts?

    There are many over-the-counter remedies to treat plantar warts. Each remedy has an active ingredient that should aid in eliminating warts. Unfortunately, because they are over-the-counter, they are not often strong enough to take care of most warts. For small warts, early in their formation, an OTC treatment could work. For larger or multiple warts, the over-the-counter solution is not usually the answer.

    If you decide to try an OTC wart remover, be sure to use a pummus stone or callus file to remove the dead skin on the wart. This should be done each time the medicine is reapplied. I don't recommend the commercially available treatment that freezes the wart. It is significantly less potent than what your podiatrist or dermatologist might use in their office and simply does not penetrate deeply enough for the wart to be destroyed. I do recommend visiting our podiatry office in Houston, TX to ensure the wart is being treated in the most complete and effective way.

  • Is there any oral medication for plantar warts?

    Because a plantar wart is a manifestation of a virus, there is no medication to eliminate it. Viruses typically are left to run their course. Just like a cold, you don't treat the virus itself, but you do treat the symptoms.

    There are some who believe that oral cimetidine, commonly known as the heartburn medication Tagamet, will help to eliminate warts. It is reported that there is some slow success in children, but most don't use it as a primary treatment Instead, it is used if there is a widespread infection of warts while other treatments are being used as well.