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Plantar Warts

Most plantar warts usually go away without treatment. If you are concerned, book a consultation with Dr Kim.

Plantar Warts

What is a Plantar Wart?

Plantar Warts are small skin growth that develops when a human papillomavirus (HPV) infects the skin.

Warts can appear anywhere on the feet, but typically, they appear on the bottom side of the feet, called the plantar aspect.

Although plantar warts most commonly occur in children, adolescents, and the elderly, they can infect anyone.

Plantar warts grow deep into the skin and they may become larger over time or may also spread to other areas of the feet or may infect other people.

Causes

HPV (human Papillomavirus): that enters your body through tiny cuts, breaks or other weak spots on the bottom of your feet.

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 actually dried blood contained in the capillaries (tiny blood vessels).

Treatment

Conservative

Medication: to ease any pain.

Salicylic acid: This over-the-counter treatment involves applying a solution or patch containing salicylic acid to the wart, which can help to dissolve the wart and stimulate the immune system to fight the virus. Evidence suggests that salicylic acid effectively treats plantar warts, with cure rates ranging from 50-70%.

Cryotherapy: This involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen, which causes the wart to blister and eventually fall off. Evidence suggests that cryotherapy effectively treats plantar warts, with cure rates ranging from 50-70%.

Electrosurgery: This involves using an electrical current to destroy the wart tissue. Evidence suggests that electrosurgery effectively treats plantar warts, with cure rates ranging from 70-90%.

Laser treatment: to cauterize the tiny blood vessels.  The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off. Evidence suggests that laser therapy effectively treats plantar warts, with cure rates ranging from 60-80%.

Immune therapy: your doctor may inject your warts with a foreign substance (antigen). Immunotherapy involves stimulating the immune system to fight the virus by injecting the wart with a substance that triggers an immune response. Evidence suggests that immunotherapy effectively treats plantar warts, with cure rates ranging from 50-70%.

Surgical

Surgery is considered in patients who have not responded well to non-surgical treatments. In some cases, surgical excision may be necessary.

Wart curettage, also known as surgical excision, is a procedure that involves removing a wart by scraping it off with a curette, a small, spoon-shaped instrument. Studies have shown that curettage can be an effective treatment for warts, with cure rates ranging from 60-95%.

The surgeon can perform a tibial nerve block with a local anaesthetic or directly in the area, and the plantar wart can be removed. This procedure usually does not require hospital admission but is performed in the office setting, and no stitches are required.

Surgical excision allows you to walk immediately following the procedure, although you will be advised and expected to rest for 48-72 hours to reduce complications such as bleeding and increased post-op pain.

It is important to note that plantar warts can be stubborn and require multiple treatments before they are completely gone.

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Before & After Photos

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Appointment Information

Cost & Item Codes – Our fees and item codes are under the Fees & Services tab.

Scans – We normally do not require any scans prior to your appointment.

Requirements – If you are coming in for wart surgery, please wear open shoes.

Telehealth – We may be able to offer an initial telehealth appointment if you live a distance away. Phone one of our friendly staff to see if this is possible for you. We may ask you to email some photos of your wart/s prior to your appointment.

Surgery Information

Do I need surgery? – Although your surgeon may recommend a procedure, it is your decision if you go ahead with the operation or not.

Plantar wart procedures are usually carried out in our state-of-the-art procedure room unless patients are needle phobic requiring general anaesthesia. This is usually discussed during your initial consultation.

Duration – The procedure typically takes about 45 minutes depending on the size and number of warts involved.

Anaesthesia – Clinic procedures are performed under local anaesthesia (tibial block + local infiltration), with or without oral sedation.

Hospital surgery can be performed under general anaesthesia.

Medications – Assuming that pain medication is needed, use either the medication prescribed by your surgeon or two Ibuprofen, approximately 3 hours after the procedure is performed.

Smoking – If you are a smoker, you need to stop the habit of smoking for best results of normal healing and reduce postoperative complications.

Recovery Process

Patients must follow their surgeon’s instructions carefully during recovery to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications.

The following should be adhered to in order to hasten your recovery from foot surgery. In general, the following timeline can be expected:

Immediately after surgery:  Go home immediately after the procedure and stay off your foot as much as possible for a couple days. Keep the foot elevated above your heart.

  • When you are moving around make sure you have open shoes or your post-op shoe on.
  • The anaesthetics will typically wear off in 4 to 8 hours after the surgery.
  • Assuming that pain medication is needed, use either the medication prescribed by your surgeon or two Ibuprofen, approximately 3 hours after the procedure is performed.

For any hospital procedures under general anaesthesia, bandages must be kept dry at all times and must not be removed before your first post-operative consultation with Dr Kim. Place a plastic bag over your foot when showering.

Wart excisions tend to bleed a lot. So, a small amount of bleeding and drainage (roughly 3-4 cm in diameter) oozing into your dressing is normal post-operatively. It should not be actively expanding though, and it should be pretty much dry by the next day. If significant bleeding occurs, please call the office.

For any clinic-based procedures.

  • Do not remove the dressing applied until 2-3 days, as instructed by your surgeon.

The first few days:

  • After removing the dressing soak the foot in Betadine solution and lukewarm water (seven capfuls of Betadine to one litre of water) for twenty minutes. You are to soak your foot each day until your first post-operative visit.
  • Keep the foot dry until the first dressing change. Following your foot soaks, you will apply topical antiseptics such as Betadine and a clean dressing 2-3 times a day.
  • Try to keep the dressing clean and dry when showering. After a shower, change your dressing immediately.
  • If the foot gets wet accidentally, you may remove the dressing, apply an antiseptic cream or ointment and a sterile dressing.

You can return to normal activities after 2-3 days.

Driving – Patients can drive immediately after surgery if procedure is on your left foot, and you have an automatic car. Otherwise, you can drive after 1 day.

For any hospital procedures under general anaesthesia, you cannot drive until after 24 hours when you are off narcotics. Therefore, you will need someone to drive you home from hospital.

Return to Work

sedentary – If you work at a desk with minimal time on your feet and you are able to elevate your foot/feet, you may be able to return to work immediately following a clinic procedure, or 1-2 days for hospital surgery.

active – If you have a physical job or are standing a lot and unable to elevate your foot/feet, you may be able to return to work 1-2 weeks following a clinic procedure or hospital surgery.

Low impact exercise2-3 weeks following a clinic procedure or hospital surgery.

High impact exercise – should be avoided for 3-4 weeks following a clinic procedure or hospital surgery.

Some possible complication may include infection, pain, swelling, recurrence.

Patients should contact their surgeon if they notice excessive bleeding, develop a fever, or have any questions.

Healing time varies depending on the wart size and number of warts.  Full recovery can take 3-6 weeks.

Surgery

When to consider surgery?

Surgery is considered in patients who have not responded well to non-surgical treatments.

Plantar wart procedures are usually carried out in our state-of-the-art procedure room unless patients are needle phobic requiring general anaesthesia.

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

Podiatric Surgeon Dr Kim is the leading surgeon for Foot Surgery in Brisbane and Gold Coast, contact him today for a consultation regarding plantar warts.

No referral needed

Contact Us

A GP referral is welcome however it is not essential for your appointment

About

Dr Ji Soo Kim (Specialist Podiatric Surgeon) BPodM, DClinPod, FFPM RCPS(Glasg)

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Dr Kim has two offices, one located in Kelvin Grove, Brisbane. The other is in Southport, Gold Coast.

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