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General Information

Treatment of a plantar wart
Plantar wart diagnosis

“Plantar” means “Of the sole” in Latin. Unlike other types of warts, plantar warts are typically quite painful as the pressure from walking and standing forces them to grow into your skin. Like all warts, Plantar warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) virus, specifically types 1, 2, 4, 60, and 63. Underneath the skin, the wart can have finger-like roots that reach down and grow, making them very difficult to treat effectively from the surface.

  • How do I know I have them?

    • You might get the feeling of “painful pebbles” in your shoes.
    • You will likely feel pain when you compress the sides of the wart.
    • They present as flat, rough and thick and can be easily confused for a callus.
    • You will typically see a circular flat spot on the skin with a depressed area in the middle.
    • They may appear “yellowed” with a crust; small black dots can be an easy give away.
    • You may just have one or you may have several that form a cluster. The cluster formation is referred to as mosaic warts.
  • How do you get them?

    The HPV virus loves warm, moist places like swimming pool and locker room floors. Small puddles on the tiles of a pool deck create the ideal environment for HPV. The virus is typically transmitted via direct contact and usually when you have a small crack or opening in your skin.

  • How are they diagnosed?

    A podiatrist (foot and ankle specialist) is the best person to see if you are concerned or think you may have plantar warts. They can typically diagnose the condition accurately by look and feel, however in a rare case they may take a biopsy to make sure.

  • What treatment options are available?

    There are a range of treatment options available to patients with plantar warts, however effectiveness varies significantly. Options can vary from home remedies to surgical excision, however the two most common clinical approaches used in the United States are: Immunotherapy and Destruction.

    Immunotherapy options now available include: Swift Microwave Therapy, Imiquimod and Intralesional Injections.

    The most commonly used destructive treatments include: Cryotherapy, Salicylic Acid, Cathandarin, Laser and Surgical Excision.

  • What is the most effective treatment method?

    Historically, destructive methods have been the most common form of treatment, however they have proven largely ineffective as they are designed to eliminate signs and symptoms vs treating the root cause of the wart, the HPV virus. It is for this reason that Swift Microwave Therapy was developed, which we believe to be the most effective method for plantar wart treatment as it stimulates the body to target the HPV virus itself. Clinical studies suggest clearance rates of 75.6% vs anywhere between 14% and 33% in comparable plantar wart specific studies for cryotherapy and salicylic acid, the 2 most commonly used current treatments.

  • What should I do next?

    If you think you have plantar warts, we advise that you seek treatment from a registered podiatrist who has the option to treat with Swift Microwave Therapy if appropriate. These podiatrists will also have other options at their disposal, however those without a Swift System will not be able to recommend this treatment. In order to find a podiatrist offering Swift Microwave Therapy, visit the Swift Clinic Locator.