What Is The Best Way To Remove Warts?
There are many kinds of foot wart treatments available for those unlucky enough to have contracted a verruca. It is estimated that one in 10 of us will suffer from a verruca at some time or another.
Plantar warts are a viral infection caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV virus) and so can be highly contagious and take years to get rid of.
Many invasive treatments for plantar warts involve burning the virus from the skin using a variety of hot, cold and chemical therapies (as listed below). These should only be carried out by qualified medical professional.
Cryotherapy can be a very effective method of removing plantar warts and verruca’s. This method uses gases and liquids to achieve very low temperatures which freeze the virus on the skin surface. There are two main types of cryotherapy that operate at different temperatures.
The first is a -59°C treatment that uses a liquid refrigerant which is normally sprayed onto the skin via an aerosol can. The second is a -200°C treatment that uses liquid nitrogen normally contained within a solid metal probe that is applied to the skin’s surface.
Both methods will deep freeze the skin causing the lesion to blister. Care should be taken with this method as it can be extremely painful for the patient both in its application and with any post-operative wound.
With laser therapy, a high powered laser is used to burn the virus using a high-energy light beam. The most common laser is the long-pulsed Nd:YAG Laser that kills the wart with heat in a conical shape. The great thing about this laser is it does not leave any scar tissue.
Electrotherapy uses electricity to create a burning hot wire which is then used on the skin to scoop the lesion out and cauterise the flesh. This method also known as radiolase, can be very effective in that it reduces the amount of bleeding often associated with plantar warts removal but it requires a local anaesthetic as the treatment can be very painful, and will require dressing and post-operative care to preventing infection.
This involves using acids to chemically burn the virus such as trichloroacetic acid. These acids are very powerful and can be very dangerous, not to say messy so generally are less commonly used today, Some of the older treatments using an acid paste were applied to the affected area and left for a period of time (often a week) before removal.
The patient must be aware that any of the methods above may cause permanent scarring after treatment due to their invasive nature but generally the post-operative results can be quite encouraging.
The most common self treatment option for foot warts are over-the-counter salacylic acid preparations. There are many of these kinds of preparations available and they come in different strengths depending on a patients age and circuitry condition, so it is always wise to consult your pharmacist, doctor or podiatrist before choosing or commencing treatment.
Salacylic acid preparations will chemically burn the skin surface but can be indiscriminate attacking not only the virus but also the surrounding healthy skin. They may also be messy and difficult to use unless a gel-based preparation which dries quickly can be applied.
The latest fad seems to advocate using duct tape on your verruca or wart to deny the virus light and air and aggravate the skin enough to stimulate the immune system. However, it may be a good idea to use a pumice stone to remove dead skin between applications of the duct tape for your foot wart in order to get rid of the growth. Be careful not to spread the virus to the surrounding skin in the direction of rubbing.
Other home treatments for warts include using tea tree oil, vinegar, onions and garlic applied daily to the lesion. These upset the pH balance of the skin and in the case of tea tree oil this acts as a powerful antiseptic. Some people try to use bleach also on their plantar warts but I would not advise this particularly if it was bleeding because of the dangerous caustic nature of bleach particularly if you have circulatory issues or diabetes.