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Plantar Wart Treatment, Surgery vs. Medication?

Plantar warts are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) in the outer layer of skin, commonly on the soles of your feet.


Wart Treatment ranges from over the counter medication (Salicylic Acic or Aspirin) to a more agressive surgical removal.



  • Topical therapy.  This method uses medications or solutions to directly attack the virus.  stimulate your immune system to fight viral warts. Your doctor may inject your warts with a foreign substance (antigen) or apply a solution or cream to the warts.
  • Liquid Nitrogen treatment.  Preferred treatment and done in the clinic with local anesthetic, this wart treatment has a faster healing time and no risk for scarring on on the bottom of the foot.  Blister formation after the 'cryotherapy' is uncomfortable for 2-3 days and there are no restrictions or harm if the patient bears weight on the area (walking, standing or even running).
  • Minor surgery. Curretage or surgical removal in an out patient surgery center can be performed if other therapy fails.  Other devices such as electrocautery are used for larger areas and in conjuction with curretage.





Stronger peeling medicine  Prescription-strength wart medications with salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. They may also stimulate your immune system's ability to fight the wart.


We will instruct you to apply the medicine regularly at home, followed by occasional visits to the office. Your doctor may pare away part of the wart or use freezing treatment (cryotherapy). Studies show that salicylic acid is more effective when combined with freezing.


Freezing medicine (cryotherapy). Freezing therapy done at a doctor's office involves applying liquid nitrogen to your wart, either with a spray or a cotton swab. Your doctor may numb the area first because it can be painful when the liquid nitrogen is applied.


The chemical causes a blister to form around your wart, and the dead tissue sloughs off within a week or so. It may also stimulate your immune system to fight viral warts. Usually, you'll return to the doctor's office for repeat treatments every three to four weeks until the wart disappears.



Talk to an expert

Our doctors have extended specialist medical training focused on the foot, ankle and lower leg.


We are board certified surgeons and experts in delivering care for complex foot and ankle disorders as well as cosmetic or reconstructive procedures and problems related to sports injuries and other medical conditions.

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