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What Are Warts or Verruca?

A wart is an infection caused by a virus, which can invade your skin through small cuts or breaks. Over time, the wart develops into a hard, rough growth on the surface of the skin. A wart is most commonly seen on the bottom of the foot (known as a plantar wart), but can also appear on the top. Children, teens, and people with allergies or weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to the wart virus.


Are warts contageous?

YES!!! Because warts are caused by a virus, they are highly contagious; and will usually become present at times where our immune system may be a little compromised. The most common way to get one is direct skin-to-skin contact. However indirect contact such as being barefoot in wet areas, sharing towels, socks and shoes with someone who has a wart, will highly increase your chances of becoming infected with the HPV (wart) virus.


How do I know if I have a wart?

Diagnosis of a wart should always be made by a professional,;especially before attempting to use store bought products to treat your wart. Most plantar warts are diagnosed based on their appearance. In some cases, your podiatrist may scrape a sample of skin cells from the wart and send the sample to a pathologist for microscopic evaluation.


Wart Treatment:

Warts will often relieve themselves as our body fights off the virus. However this can be a slow  process and can take months or even years. This plus the fact they can be painful when on weight-bearing areas, is why many people decide to 'take action' and see a podiatrist or doctor to help them find the best option to treat their wart.


There are plenty of old wives’ tales out there about treating warts — we’ve heard everything from applying duct tape, banana peels or even selling their wart! All treatments used on warts aim disrupt the area so the immune system will act to eliminate the virus. Many people try over-the-counter treatments first; however most are made of low-concentration salicylic acid, which often isn’t strong enough to kill the warts and often damages the healthy, surrounding skin. In our opinion warts should always be treated by a professional. 


Our podiatrists at Sydney Podiatry Co like to treat warts in a holistic manner and try to provide a comfortable and painless experience for both kids and adults. Our treatments may include:

  • Discussing the current state of your immune system and looking at ways to boost your immunity. This may include collaboration with other health professionals. Since warts are a virus it may be recommended to boost the immune system and leave them to heal spontaneously. However since they are highly contagious, painful and can spread, it is often recommended to keep a close watch of them and seek help if they become unmanageable.
  • Chemical cautery is often the first line of treatment used for plantar warts. Specific chemicals are used under close supervision in conjunction with careful debridement in an effort to breakdown of wart tissue and initiate an auto-immune response. Single warts usually require between 4 and 8 treatments. Multiple warts may be more resistant and take longer to eradicate.
  • SWIFT (Selective Waveband Infrared Treatment) is a relatively new technology that uses microwave energy to treat plantar warts. The SWIFT device emits a low-level microwave energy that is directed at the affected area, heating up the cells within the wart.

    This heat energy causes the wart cells to break down and die off, which triggers the body's immune system to remove the dead cells and promote the growth of new, healthy skin cells. Over time, the wart gradually disappears as the body naturally sheds the dead cells

  • Prescribed Medications; for those who have many warts numbering in the dozens if not hundreds, simple acids or surgery will not work due to the large amount of warts that need to be treated. In these cases a your doctor may prescribe medications such has high doses of Vitamin A or Cimetidine.
  • If all else fails, you may need to have a minor surgical procedure called curettage.

With so many treatment options available, you can be pretty confident you’re dealing with a common but tricky problem. The best line of treatment is to make a booking with one of our Podiatrists at Sydney Podiatry Co who will ensure that the most effective treatment plan is put in place from the get-go. This could save you a lot of time, frustration and money.