Although plantar warts may eventually disappear by themselves with proper food hygiene, treatment is a more immediate way to resolve any ongoing pain. This may be done by an excision, a freeze treatment, or an acid patch of wart.
Plantar warts can erupt anywhere on the sole of the foot. They may be difficult to distinguish from calluses. However, you may be able to see tiny black dots on the surface layer of a plantar wart. These are the ends of capillary blood vessels. Calluses have no blood vessels, usually resemble yellow candle wax, and are located only over weightbearing areas.
Plantar warts can be very painful and tender. Standing and walking pushes the wart flat. They grow up into the skin, making it feel like there’s a stone in your shoe.
Your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon may carefully trim the wart and apply a chemically treated dressing. The physician also may give you instructions for self-care. Salicylic acid patches, applied on a daily basis, and good foot hygiene, including regular use of a pumice stone, usually are effective. However, it may take several weeks for the wart to disappear completely.
If the wart is resistant to treatment, your physician may recommend an office procedure to remove it. After a local anesthetic is applied, the physician uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the wart and dissolve it. To avoid scarring or damaging other tissues, this method removes only the top portion of the wart. The treatment must be repeated regularly until the entire wart is dissolved.
Pulsed-dye laser treatments can burn closed (cauterizes) the tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off. This method requires repeat treatments every three to four weeks. The evidence for the effectiveness of this method is limited, and it can cause pain and potentially scarring.
Alternatively, the physician can cut out (excise) the wart. You may be treated with antibiotics to avoid any potential infections.