“I think it may be a wart, Doc”…is what I hear a lot from patients these days. 99% of the time they are right, making it one of the more easily recognizable Podiatric conditions that we treat.
A wart is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are over 120 different HPV types, and plantar’s wart gets the distinction of HPV-1. The virus only infects the epidermal (outermost) layer of skin, and is can be contagious. While most people get infected from communal showers and pools, a patient can contract it anywhere they walk barefoot.
Once a wart infects the skin cells, it generally causes the skin to form thicken calluses on the bottoms of the foot. Unlike hand warts which are raised, the plantar warts become inverted and are generally flat. Little blood vessels appear in the center of the wart, giving its hallmark “salt and pepper look”. In order to differentiate between and wart and callus, there are two methods. First, if there is more pain on squeezing the lesion side to side versus direct pressure than that is indicative of a plantar’s wart. Second, if there is pin-point bleeding when the lesion is shaved down, than that is also indicative of a plantar’s wart.
There are countless methods to treating a wart, ranging from high tech techniques such as Laser and Cyrotherapy, simple curettage and excising the lesion, powerful chemotherapy drugs such as F-5U, strong acids, and even some really bizarre techniques as duct-tape, and marigold flowers. We here offer a wide variety of options, but have the most success with Canthacur.
Canthacur’s active ingredient is Cantharidin, which is a chemical compound secreted by the blister beatle, which you guess it, causes a blister when it comes in contact with the skin. When applied to a wart, this blister helps destroy most of the virus in 1-2 applications. While an extremely effective treatment, patients often complain of pain to the area, 12 hours after its application, which will subside by the next morning.
The advantages of this treatment over the more common acids used in most office today, is that it requires fewer treatments, less patient compliance (no need for daily applications), and higher success rate.
Overall we’ve been pleased with its use an highly recommend it to all patients seeking treatment for warts in our office.