Swift Treatment for Plantar Warts
Most people will develop one or more warts on their feet at least once in their lifetimes. And while foot warts may not be as “serious” as, say, an ankle sprain, they can still be irritating, embarrassing, and sometimes painful.
Worse, warts can spread to other areas of your body (or even other people), and traditionally have been very resistant to treatment. That is, until now.
We’re proud to be among the first clinics in Michigan using a new wart treatment called Swift , which we’ll talk more about in a moment. First, let’s take a closer look at the condition itself.
Plantar Wart Symptoms
The most recognizable symptom of a plantar wart is the lesion itself. These viral growths have a rough, grainy appearance. Although warts can appear anywhere on the body, the term plantar warts specifically refers to warts of the feet, and they often tend to be found on the toes or soles.
It is often possible to see tiny black dots, which some mistakenly call “seeds.” In fact, these are simply tiny, clotted blood vessels.
When a plantar wart is positioned in a weight-bearing location, or at a point that is constantly rubbing against the inside of your shoe, it can result in tenderness, discomfort, or even pain while standing or walking.
Where Plantar Warts Come From
Contrary to popular myth, the root cause of warts is not frogs or witches. Instead, they are caused by a fairly common virus known as the human papillomavirus (HPV).
This virus thrives in environments that are warm and moist. Sweaty shoes, pool decks, and locker rooms can harbor HPV.
Since HPV requires an entrance point into the skin, individuals who have cuts, cracks, scrapes, or skin that has become softened and fragile from time in water are especially at risk. That said, sometimes these weak points are so small you can’t even really detect them.
Anyone can get a wart, but they are especially common in children, elderly people, and those with conditions that compromise immune system function.
Plantar Wart Treatment
Can I Treat My Wart at Home?
It is important to begin by saying that you should not attempt to treat these viral growths on your own if you have diabetes. When you find one during the course of your daily foot inspection, cover the wart with a clean bandage (to prevent the virus from spreading) and contact our office to make an appointment.
Though we do not recommend the use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications and other wart treatment remedies, many individuals first start with initial self care. In general this is not problematic, but home/self treatment should not be done if your health history includes any autoimmune conditions like diabetes or neuropathy of any kind. Most of these OTC treatments have very little medication in them and are not affective in treating warts. Some however, have salicylic acid and other caustic agents in them and can be harmful to healthy skin. Bleach should not be used to treat warts.
Unfortunately, warts rarely go away on their own over time. A single small wart typically over time will increase in skze and frequently will multiply and develop satellite lesions on other areas of one or both feet, and occasionally the hands. In general, most warts that are treated when they are small (5 mm or less) will respond and clear more rapidly than lesions that are larger and have been present for a longer period of time. Of course, we recommend contacting our office for an evaluation and treatment recommendations when you first notice that you or a family member have warts.
The Swift Treatment System
Swift is a new treatment protocol for warts that offers our patients significantly faster, easier, safer, and more effective results for wart removal that previous methods, such as using peeling chemicals or cryotherapy.
The procedure itself only takes a couple of seconds. Using a handheld tool, we deliver lower-power microwave energy to the layers of skin surrounding the wart. The microwaves excite water molecules and generate heat and friction, which in turn draws in proteins and activates your immune system.
This is critical , as the immune system normally ignores the layers of skin where warts form. That’s why warts take so long to go away on their own! But with Swift, you direct your body’s attention exactly where it needs to go, and help it quickly build up an immunity to the strand of HPV causing your wart. In short order, the virus is cured and your body can start re-growing new, healthy tissue.
Aside from minor discomfort during the 2-3 seconds of application (which is similar to an injection), the Swift treatment is not painful and should not produce any lingering symptoms. No anesthetic is required, no downtime or follow-up care is necessary, and most (although not all) people only need a single treatment.
If you’d like more detailed information about how Swift works, please check out this informative blog or view the video on this page!
Wart Prevention Tactics
Although we can provide effective care for a plantar wart here in our office, we find that most patients would simply prefer not to get one in the first place. You can reduce your odds of ending up with a wart by adhering to the following guidelines:
Avoid making direct contact with a wart, including your own. If you do, be sure to wash your hands (or other body parts) carefully.
- Wear shower shoes or sandals in common areas where the wart-causing virus can be found, including locker rooms, gym showers and the area around indoor swimming pools.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Wear fresh socks every day.
- Do not use the same equipment on your healthy skin that you used on a wart. (Using a disposable emery board is one way to avoid this situation).
- Do not pick at your warts with your fingers, if you develop warts of the finger tips they can spread under the finger nail and be very difficult to treat.
For Professional Treatment for Plantar Warts in Grand Rapids, Michigan