What is the best way to treat plantar warts? This depends on the individual, but one option is to excise them under local anaesthetic. You have probably tried “freezing” or “burning” pharmacy paints and ointments. Nothing works as well as a number 15 scalpel blade. While some people may be put off by these thoughts, it works well and does not require much time off your feet.

A wart is a small growth on the skin that develops when the skin is infected by a virus. Warts can develop anywhere on foot, but typically they appear on the bottom (plantar side) of the foot. Plantar warts most commonly occur in children, adolescents, and the elderly.


The symptoms of a plantar wart may include:

Thickened skin. Often a plantar wart resembles a callus because of its tough, thick tissue.

Pain. Walking and standing may be painful. Squeezing the sides of the wart may also cause pain.

Tiny black dots. These often appear on the surface of the wart. The dots are dried blood contained in the capillaries (tiny blood vessels).

Plantar warts grow deep into the skin. Usually, this growth occurs slowly, with the wart starting small and becoming larger over time.



If there is no response to treatment, surgical excision may be necessary. In such cases, the surgeon can perform a tibial nerve block with a local anaesthetic, and the plantar wart can be removed without the need to go to the hospital. Although there are many folk remedies for warts, patients should be aware that these remain unproven and may be dangerous. Patients should never try to remove warts themselves. This can do more harm than good. Surgical excision does allow you to walk immediately following the procedure, although you will be advised and expected to rest up for 48 to 72 hours following the procedure to reduce the incidence and risk of bleeding.

Following surgery in the clinic, you may experience discomfort and mild pain for 2-3 days, and your wound may be moderately weeping. It is highly recommended to apply absorbent dressing during this time. Allevyn non-adhesive dressing (by Smith & Nephew) is recommended, and you may find it much cheaper here.

Your wound will close up within 4-6 weeks, depending on the size of the excision, but you may become much more comfortable weight-bearing 4-5 days postoperatively.

You are typically seen by Dr Kim between 3-5 days postoperatively for the wound checkup and 4-5 weeks after that.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Visit footsurgery.com.au for more information.

By – Dr Ji Soo Kim

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