Help! How Do I Treat Plantar Warts that Will Not Go Away?

November 2, 2009 by admin 

Plantar Warts are a common problem.  Some studies estimate that as many as 10 percent of Americans are infected.  These warts, which form on the sole of your feet, are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).  Most people pick them up by going barefoot in public locker rooms or showers.  Humans build up immunity to the virus with age and so the warts are particularly common in children, who can catch the virus simply by walking around barefoot outside.   Plantar warts are usually harmless.  They can, however, be particularly contagious and resistant to treatment.  Sometimes one wart will produce small cluster of warts on the bottom of the foot, known as a mosaic.  Plantar warts tend to appear in the same places over the course of a lifetime.  Treatments may have to be administered on several occasions before the wart is eliminated.Most of the time, warts can be treated at home using wart removal kits you can find at drug stores.  If these home treatments have failed, or if you notice your wart growing, changing color or multiplying on the sole of your foot, consult your doctor.  More drastic measures may need to be taken to get your plantar wart situation under control.Most doctors will start with cryotherapy – a treatment that uses liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart.  After application of liquid nitrogen to the affect area, skin should blister and eventually peels off in about a week.  Several treatments may be necessary in order to completely eradicate the plantar wart.  A more experimental treatment of plantar warts involves a substance known as cantharidin.  This substance is produced by the blister beetle, and it has been used to treat warts for centuries.  A doctor will apply the cantharidin to your skin and cover the affected area with tape.  The substance will cause your skin to blister (hence the beetle’s name) and a week later your doctor will remove the dead skin.  People whose warts do not respond to the above treatment may want to consider surgery.  This surgery can take several forms: the doctor can cut away the wart, kill it using an electric needle (a process known as electrodesiccation) or use a laser beam.  Some patients also choose to undergo immunotherapy, a process by which your doctor stimulates your immune system so that it releases proteins and other natural wart-fighting agents. These treatments are, of course, more expensive (and sometimes more painful) and should be turned to as a last resort.


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