Plantar Wart Treatment Downtown Toronto Podiatrist and Foot Clinic 

Plantar Wart Treatment Downtown Toronto Podiatrist and Foot Clinic 


What is a plantar wart ?


A plantar wart is a virus that lies in the layers of the skin. It is known as human papilloma virus (HPV) . There are many different strains of HPV and plantar warts belong to strains 1,2,3 ,4 27 and 57. What is interesting about plantar warts is that its DNA is anatomically specific for the hands and feet. Meaning it doesn’t spread to other parts of the body. It also is benign, meaning it cannot turn into cancer. Where other types of HPV can turn into cancerous lesions, that is where there is vaccines for these strains. 


Why Treat Plantar Warts?

Plantar warts can start to cause pain over time. 

Symptoms include burning, tingling, aching or pinching pain. The wart can also accumulate callousing which can also be painful. 

Plantar warts can also spread with time and are highly contagious. Someone may start out with one and soon notice they have multiple warts that have spread across the foot. 

Warts are highly contagious and can spread from person to person quite easily and it does not even have to be direct skin to skin contact for this to happen. 


How Warts Spread 

Public areas where people are walking around barefooted is a common area where this virus can be found. Especially in areas where there is some moisture on the floor. The wart virus can live on the floor for more than 6 months! 

When someone walks barefooted they can contract this virus, especially if there is an opening in the skin or higher risk of infection. 


How to Treat Plantar Warts 

Treatment can vary depending on the lifestyle of the patient and how long the wart has been there. 

Warts that have been around for a long time can be resistant to treatment, meaning it takes longer to get rid of them. 


Some traditional treatment include:

  • Liquid Nitrogen 
  • Salicylic Acid ( over the counter to prescription grade) 
  • Cantharone 
  • Laser 
  • Surgical Removal


Liquid Nitrogen 

 Has been known as dry ice and it uses cold liquid to make a freezer burn to the wart. This can also cause a blister to the skin which attempts to lift the virus from the deeper layers of the skin. This is a common treatment done at doctors offices and can require weekly or biweekly sessions up to months of treatment. 


Salicylic Acid 

This can be a liquid or a paste form made from a compound pharmacy. The acid destroys the skin tissue in an attempt to get rid of the virus. The acid over the counter is quite gentle and usually not successful in treating most plantar warts. Acids used in podiatry offices, such as in our Downtown Toronto Podiatry and Foot Clinic, we use a higher potency that is up to 10 x more effective. This treatment works best when the area is kept dry with a bandage and regularly shaved down so the virus can be exposed to the sal acid. 

Some people are not suitable for this treatment when they have diabetes, poor sensation, poor circulation or elderly.  



This is a liquid that comes from a male blister beetle that causes a skin reaction. I have no idea how they extract this and make it into medicine, but they do! In podiatry we treat lesions of the skin with this medication. It causes a blister to form to pull the virus away from the skin. 

This can be quite painful and can take multiple sessions to get rid of the virus. 

The area cannot get wet for a certain amount of time while the medication is on or else it will interfere with the success of the treatment. 



Laser wart treatment is an effective treatment that uses heat to kill the warty tissue. 

It is an effective form of treatment which has a clearance rate of 96% according to studies. 

The laser can have two modes of treatment, one which can cause a blister and another which does not. The laser intervention which does cause a blister is more effective in the clearance rate. However, less invasive treatment requires more sessions to get the same results. This treatment can be offered with or without local anesthesia . For those who find it painful, local anesthesia may be an option. 


Surgical Intervention 

Surgical InterventionThere are a couple of ways surgical intervention can be done. One way is to use a procedure called needling, which is where the affected area is anesthetized and punctured approximately 100 times. This is to ignite an immune response. Upon follow up , usually 2 – 3 months later, the warts are simply debrided off. 


The other surgical treatment is excising the wart. This also requires local anesthesia. It does not require any sutures and heals well without them! The practitioner removes the warty tissue with a scalpel blade. The area is then offloaded and dressed with antibiotic ointment. These are the treatments offered at Instride Podiatry Foot Clinic in Downtown Toronto. Chiropodist, Laura Desjardins has experience with treatment of laser wart therapy and wart excision for those who wish to get rid of stubborn warts. 


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