Plantar warts are one of those conditions that are synonymous with “common foot problems” in many people’s minds—up there with ingrown toenails and stubbed toes.
For many people, plantar warts can be a relatively harmless nuisance. However, they can appear in spots on the foot that receive a lot of pressure or friction, making them hurt. And if you have a condition such as diabetes or poor circulation, even lowly warts are something to pay extra special attention to.
Most podiatrists have tons of experience treating plantar warts, but “traditional” methods of cutting and applying acids often leave something to be desired. That’s why Michigan Foot & Ankle Specialists is proud to provide a more modern option: Swift Therapy.
Before we talk about how it works, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what plantar warts are.
How People Get Plantar Warts
A wart is, basically, a viral infection in the skin. In these cases, the virus is the human papillomavirus, or HPV. It is able to slip into the upper layers of the skin via any sort of weakness in the skin’s defenses. Any tiny cut, crack or gap will do.
Once within, HPV can cause raised, grainy growths or bumps where it resides. While warts can appear just about anywhere on the skin, the hands and feet tend to be the most common locations. The “plantar” part of plantar warts simply means “on the foot.”
Strains of HPV tend to thrive best in moist, warm environments, so it is not uncommon for plantar warts to be picked up in areas such as gyms, locker rooms, and showers where a lot of barefoot traffic is prevalent. Sweaty shoes can also be a haven for the organisms.
The good news is that plantar warts will eventually go away on their own. The bad news is that this can take a very long time—sometimes even years!
If your warts are not painful and you are not at risk, an OTC or home remedy may not hurt to try. However, the results for most of these types of treatment are spotty at best.
If you want your warts gone as soon as possible, or have any issues that may cause potential complications, we recommend seeing us instead. And you’ll likely be glad you did!
Using Swift Microwave Therapy on Plantar Warts
Swift Therapy provides a faster, safer, more effective, and more comfortable way of addressing plantar warts than previous methods—and it employs your body’s own defenses in the process.
Here’s how it works:
- We lightly debride your warts for more effective treatment. This will not involve cutting into or breaking the skin.
- We use our Swift device (clinically tested and FDA-approved, of course) to beam low-power microwave energy into the infected areas of your skin.
- The energy creates a small amount of heat and friction within the skin. This causes a response within the surrounding cells and your immune system. In a sense, it’s like placing a GPS target on the upper layers of your skin, which our immune systems tend to otherwise ignore.
With your immune system better keyed in on the threat, it can deal with warts more thoroughly. The work is done from the inside out, instead of externally with acids and cutting.
The full course of Swift Therapy will often consist of several treatments scheduled out over several weeks. Each session is very brief, taking only about 3 seconds to apply the therapy to each needed area.
There is often a minor amount of discomfort associated with the treatment. It is usually compared to receiving an injection, and lasts only for a second or two. Most patients tolerate this well, including children—but we may be able to help ease pain and anxiety if needed. Please don’t be afraid to bring this up!
Once a therapy session is complete, you can continue on with your day just as normal. There is no need for bandages afterward, nor for any preparatory work before a session.
Keeping Plantar Warts Away
Whether you currently have plantar warts and don’t want them to spread, or simply don’t want to deal with them in the first place, the following prevention tips are good to keep in mind:
- Don’t spend all day in damp shoes and socks. Switch out of wet footwear, and bring an extra pair of socks to swap into if your feet sweat a good deal through the day.
- Don’t walk barefoot in public areas like the gyms and showers we mentioned above. A good pair of water shoes can help keep you protected.
- Don’t share any nail care tools, such as nail clippers. Even better, don’t use toenail clippers on your fingernails and vice versa. You can spread the virus from feet to hands this way.
- If you currently have warts, try to avoid touching them as much as possible. When you have to, wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
Help for All Your Skin and Nail Needs!
From plantar warts to fungus to ingrown toenails, we provide expert help for pesky conditions. And when we can do so in the most comfortable and convenient ways, we will!
Our Dearborn office is here to help. Call us at (313) 582-6222 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch.
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7243 Chase Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126
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