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Plantar wart, the stubborn wart that just seems to never go away, but what is a plantar wart, what causes it and how can your foot and ankle physician treat them?

Plantar warts are rough lesions on the bottom (plantar surface) of your foot which usually have small black/red dots within them. The dots that you see within the wart are the blood vessels which are supplying the wart.  Also, when diagnosing a plantar wart, your foot and ankle physician will look for “loss of skin lines.” This is a sign that the growth is a wart which is interrupting the skin lines that are on the bottom of your foot.

Plantar warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. The virus enters the body through micro-abrasions or small cuts/breaks of the skin on your foot. Over time, the virus spreads, and results in a wart. The infected tissue can exist below the surface of the skin that you can see. This results in difficulty with reoccurrence or chronic warts which is frustrating for patients as well as their foot and ankle physicians.

There are many treatment methods available for plantar warts. Traditional treatments include topical irritants such as cantharidin, cryotherapy, curettage, and many others. One new treatment which is available at Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa/Bunion Surgery Specialists is Swift Microwave therapy.

  1. What is Swift?
    1. Swift is a system which utilizes precise, highly controlled electromagnetic waves as a form of immunotherapy. The electromagnetic waves travel through the tissue and cause a localized heating and accelerate chemical and cellular reactions to alert your body to the virus. This causes the immune system to activate and begin to fight the virus.
  2. What to expect?
    1. Electromagnetic waves are delivered via a treatment head and cause no charring, smoke or mess. Following the treatment, there is no at home wound care or dressing care.
    2. 2-3 treatments are necessary on average. Treatments are applied 4 weeks apart with a 12-week posttreatment follow-up.
      1. Chronic or long-standing warts may require more treatments.
    3. If the primary wart is small, other satellite warts will likely require no other treatment, but will be eradicated via the immune system response.
    4. If the primary wart is larger or there are multiple large chronic warts, additional treatment sites may be needed.
  3. Results
    1. Data collected in the United States shows an 85% effectiveness with a less than 1% reoccurrence rate.

Contact Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa today for an appointment to discuss your foot and ankle needs.

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