Ask the team of foot and ankle specialists at Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa how to:
“Say Goodbye to Plantar Warts for Good Without Surgery, Burning, Cutting or Freezing”
After treating feet, stubborn warts, and the pain accompanying them, the doctors at Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa have learned a few things that can benefit you. Our clinic offers some of the quickest, pain-free techniques.
Let’s start at the beginning and examine what plantar warts are from their “root” and then talk about your options for treatment.
Our goal is to get you back being active and free from the pain and embarrassment of your verruca relatively quick and pain free! Let’s get you ready for next sandal season!request an appointment
A Little About Plantar Warts
Plantar warts, also called “verruca” are pesky, persistent, and sometimes painful. They’re also very difficult to treat.
Plantar warts are common lesions found on the bottom of your foot and on your toes. They’re called “plantar” warts because plantar means the bottom surface of your foot.
Most plantar warts will run their course and go away on their own.
The challenge is just how long you can wait before your single wart becomes even more of a problem as they’re quite contagious and can spread to other parts of your foot, or to other people. Inaction isn’t really a great strategy as you’re only sitting on (actually… standing on) a time bomb that will spread.
In most cases, it is ideal to treat plantar warts instead of just patiently, or more likely impatiently, waiting for them to go away.
A variety of factors including activities (kids) and weakened immune systems (older adults) can make you more susceptible to warts… as well as simply being barefoot in public.
A plantar wart itself is a small grainy lesion that forms on the bottom of your foot, on your toe, or between your toes. A callus, or area of hardened tissue, often forms over the wart. The callous occurs because of the extra pressure that the wart causes. Unfortunately, the callous also increases the pressure to the area, and therefore the pain!
If you look hard at a wart, you’ll notice small pinpoint black specks within it. Those are blood vessels that feed the wart called capillaries. You may notice pain or tenderness in the area of the wart when you’re standing or when you’re walking.
Untreated warts might go away on their own… but they’ll also become painful. So why wait it out?
The Science Behind Your Warts (Verruca)
If you remember your 7th grade science classes, bacteria can be combated by taking medication, called antibiotics. However, to defeat viruses, your own immune system needs to fight it off with antibodies, which can’t be taken in pill form, rather your body has to create them.
You can jumpstart your immune system with a vaccine (e.g., flu vaccines), but ultimately to defeat a virus, your body’s immune system needs to do the work and be the victor.
Furthermore, the common cold is a virus. And you don’t take cold medicine to defeat the cold virus… but rather to treat cold symptoms like a runny nose, cough, headache, etc.
With this virus, you treat the wart. Now the wart is a symptom and a manifestation of the virus, but it also contains some virus tissue within it.
A verruca/wart is a symptom caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Short term, a wart is a symptom resulting from HPV that needs to be treated.
Long term, the only way to prevent warts from recurring is for the body to develop immunity to the HPV by creating antibodies.
In other words, and back to middle school science, to defeat HPV… your own immune system needs to do the work. This is easier said than done as HPV tends to be hard for your body to detect… a stealthy virus that cannot be combatted without your body recognizing its existence.
The skin on the bottom of your feet is five times the thickness as the rest of your body, making detection for your immune system all the more difficult.
This explains why verruca, plantar warts, are so persistent and stubborn. Your body can’t fight what it can’t see.
Historically, the nature of plantar warts being hard for your body to detect has resulted in more destructive treatment options like the freezing, or “burning”, of warts for removal.
While this may temporarily eradicate the wart (short-term success), you haven’t addressed the root of the verruca problem, the HPV virus, resulting in long-term problems such as warts coming back over and over again… creating a game of “whack a mole” on your feet. Now don’t get me wrong, everyone loves a good “whack a mole” game, but not with their own body!
As for removal and treatment, verruca removal does not have to be a painful experience. At Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa we offer a microwave therapy to stimulate your immune system and eradicate the wart and the virus. From what we have researched and experienced, this is by far the best choice of treatment.
Traditional Verruca Treatments
Verruca and plantar warts have been historically treated with more destructive treatment options. As we explained, the stealth nature of HPV has previously boxed us into curing through tissue destruction, including:
Liquid nitrogen applied to plantar warts to freeze the verruca virus. This technique is painful and success rates are spotty, at best, given the thickness of skin on the sole of the foot. Eradication of warts is no more frequent than the painful blisters that can result from the technique.
Toxic chemicals are applied to the verruca to (hopefully) burn away the wart. Side effects of this (often painful) treatment include dressings for the wound as well as a need to keep the treated area dry. Showering becomes an adventure and you absolutely have to stay away from pools.
Surgical removal of verruca in the past is a “last resort.” Side effects include a lot of “down time” off your foot and scarring that could be more troublesome than your removed wart(s). To be effective, surgery needs to cut out not just to the wart tissue, but all the way into the dermis of the skin.
There are a myriad of over-the-counter products you can pick up from your local pharmacy. Unfortunately, these products are most effective at causing further injury around the verruca rather than alleviating the verruca to any measurable extent. They’re also great at damaging warts versus eradicating them, leading to spread.
Originally the extract of a blood beetle (yeah… gross), a small amount of this medication on the wart will cause a large painful blister that lasts about a week. The blister puts pressure back on the wart’s blood vessels, causing them to shut down. It does work much of the time, but be warned, it’s painful and can also take several treatments.
Some clinics use a pulse dye laser to target the tiny blood vessels of the wart to shut them down. This painful procedure needs to occur multiple times, every three or four weeks. Downside besides the pain is this can cause scarring that is more bothersome than the wart(s) ever was.
Unfortunately, none of these techniques are reliably effective. So, what can you do?
A New Way to Tackle Warts
At Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa, we offer a new treatment system for warts in our clinic that utilizes microwave technology. A low dose microwave “zap” to your wart(s) uncovers stealthy HPV for your body’s immune systems so it can see and fight the wart-causing virus. It usually takes about three treatments for the wart to be gone, without any of the common side effects from more destructive, less effective wart treatments:
● No scalpels, no cutting
● No needles
● No chemicals and accompanying burning and scarring
● No bandages and dressings
● No activity hiatus required
More About How Swift Works
Traditional wart treatments target warts that result from one of more than 200 HPV viruses. Swift Microwave Treatment is different as it targets the HPV viral source, tags and reveals the virus to your immune system, and stimulates permanent healing.
The microwave technology delivered by the Swift system reveals the hard-to-detect HPV virus to your immune system allowing your body to start fighting the HPV virus and its accompanying warts instantly after treatments.
In each session, your foot and ankle specialist will apply the Swift microwave wand to your affected tissue five times for 2 seconds each, delivering 8-10 watts each. Once complete, you are free to lead your life, without concern for blisters, wounds, or dressings on the foot.
To eradicate the HPV virus and prevent wart recurrence, the Swift system takes 2-3 sessions, depending on how severe your warts are, followed by a final consultation three months after the last session to ensure that no more treatments are needed.
Swift’s microwave applications generate a genuine immune reaction, therefore, they lead to irradiation of the warts treated, as well as any “satellite” or small additional warts.
Unlike traditional methods that see a 50% recurrence, Swift stops the recurrence of warts because it helps stimulate and create HPV immunity. Studies show that there is less than a 1% recurrence of warts for patients who use the Swift technique. While there is no guarantee that Swift will work for every patient, the success rate is very high and much better than all of the other treatments available currently.
Thanks for taking the time to read this download and read this eBook. We hope it provided value to help you understand the cause of, and treatments for, your plantar warts. If you have questions about your individual case, please feel free to reach out.
Text or call (515) 639-3775 us online.
The team at Foot and Ankle Center of Iowa
Mindi Dayton, DPM, MHA
Paul Dayton, DPM, MS
Jesseka Kaldenberg-Leppert, DPM, MSA
Drew Davidson, DPM