Warts on your feet: they can be frustrating, come up when you least expect them, and cause you significant pain and discomfort when they arise on a weight-bearing part of your foot like your heel, the forefoot, or between the toes. What’s worse is that many of the standard wart treatments such as using over-the-counter wart pads purchased from pharmacies have limited or unpredictable success rates, while also posing a risk to your foot health if the solution on the wart pad gets in contact with the healthy skin surrounding the wart, causing it to painfully break down.
So what’s the solution? If you’ve had enough of the wart or warts on your feet and you’re ready to say goodbye, we highly recommend the multiple puncture technique for plantar warts, often referred to as ‘wart needling’, completed by our experienced podiatrist that works with our physio team. Here’s what you should know.
Foot Warts: An Overview
Medically known as verrucae, plantar warts are small, rough, round growths that develop on the feet. They’re caused by a virus called the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in the outer skin layer and are often contracted in childhood. Once you’ve contracted the virus, you’ll always have it in your system, so plantar warts may reappear spontaneously throughout your lifetime. HPV is spread through direct contact with the virus from an already infected individual.
While warts are benign growths, they can cause much pain and discomfort if you’re walking directly on them day in and day out. You may get one wart or many at a time. Signs you have a plantar wart include:
- Roughness or bumps over the surface of the warts
- Small black pinpoint dots (blood vessels) through the wart
- Pain will typically be produced if you squeeze the wart from the sides
- The lines of the skin of the foot (striations) go through the wart (in the case of corns, they go around the corn)
- Some warts may be covered by callus, and will need that callus removed in order to accurately identify the wart and differentiate it from a corn
Verruca Needling Treatment
Wart needling is a specialised procedure that must be performed by a podiatrist – and here at PhysioCentral, we like it because our clients get good results and fast healing time. The procedure itself is done under local anaesthetic making it painless. During the procedure, your podiatrist uses a very fine syringe needle to repeatedly puncture the wart, which is thought to work by pushing the infected cells into the deeper layers of the skin, so that your body’s natural immune response is triggered, the wart is detected, and the body gets to work on clearing the virus.
The multiple puncture technique works because it is thought that the body has a tendency to overlook the top, superficial layer of the skin ( the epidermis), so it doesn’t take appropriate action to clear the wart normally. By pushing viral cells down to the deeper dermis below, a response is triggered and the right antibodies are produced. As the body gets to work, the wart goes through a natural deterioration process before disappearing.
Aside from the painless and relatively simple nature of the procedure, other benefits of the wart needling include not needing to take any additional time off work or school following the procedure, only one treatment session typically being required, having good success rates with a relatively simple recovery, and being able to have the procedure completed in our treatment rooms without the hassle of specialist referrals to different clinics at different times.
Once the anaesthetic wears off after a few hours, you may experience some slight discomfort for the first few days and pain relief in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) may be taken, assuming it is safe for you and you have no allergies or contraindications. We may do a review of the wart approximately two weeks following the procedure to check your progress and healing, and debride any hard skin over the wart that may have developed and be causing you discomfort when walking.
Overall, this procedure has great safety, with every step done with great precision and skill from your podiatrist. You’ll also have your foot dressed after the procedure, with aftercare instructions for redressing and caring for your feet for those first few days.
There may be some cases where this procedure may not be suitable for you – such as if you have issues with circulation, healing or neuropathy (feeling in your feet). We’ll always perform a pre-procedure assessment to ensure your suitability for the procedure, and confirm the wart diagnosis.
Have any questions about the multiple puncture or technique, other ways we can help you with warts or other podiatric foot problems? Give us a call on +852 2801 4801 or email us at email@example.com