- What is a wart?
A wart is a viral infection caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. You typically contract it if you walk with wet or damaged skin on contaminated surfaces, such as changing rooms and swimming pools. A wart on your foot (plantar wart or a verruca) takes about six months to develop since exposure to the virus. It can look ghastly, cause discomfort while walking, and be painful enough to prevent participation in sports and other exercises in extreme cases.
While a wart may go away on its own, you do have options of exploring quick treatments, like the Swift Wart Therapy, to destroy a wart in a short period.
- How common are warts?
Children are particularly susceptible to warts, with over 22% of 4-year-olds and 24% of teenagers suffering from verruca in Australia. However, since their defence mechanisms are more robust, warts generally disappear in a couple of years.
Nearly 80% of Australian adults suffer from a wart infection at least once in their lifetime. About 63% of warts disappear by themselves, but most adults seek podiatrists to effectively and quickly remove warts.
- How do you recognise a wart?
Plantar warts are small, hard bumps, which may have tiny black dots on them. They are found on the soles of feet.
- What factors increase the risk of catching warts?
As mentioned earlier, walking barefoot on potentially contaminated floors is a high-risk activity. Additionally, if your skin is injured or you tend to have excessively sweaty feet, you could be at a higher risk. If you suspect you have a wart, do not scratch or shave it, as it may spread the infection to other areas.
- How can you avoid warts?
Avoid sharing towels and other personal belongings at the gym. If you do come in contact with something potentially infected, wash your hands with a disinfectant. Wear footwear in the locker room or swimming pool area, and wash your feet thoroughly once you are out of the site. If you visit the salon for a pedicure, make sure the pedicurist uses new tools on your feet that have not been used on another person before you.
- How do you treat warts?
While you could wait for warts to hopefully dissolve themselves, it is not recommended in many cases. Do visit a podiatrist if you feel you may have a plantar wart.
Warts are normally removed with a topical Salicylic Acid treatment that could last for three months. You can use some topical creams without a prescription. Still, most are harmful to the healthy skin around the wart, and it is highly recommended that you visit your podiatrist to apply the medication correctly.
Your podiatrist may resort to cauterisation in dire cases. It is a surgical procedure, and you will need to be under local anaesthesia. The wound heals in about a week, but it may leave a scar.
Licensed practitioners may even offer Swift wart therapy. It involves eliminating the virus with a quick, precise burst of microwave energy. A focused microwave signal is sent into the skin to a specific depth so that only the wart is affected. The affected tissue is heated, making warts emit proteins that are recognized as foreign infections. Your immune system then destroys the wart. As the name suggests, this is a faster way to treat warts. Microwaves are non-ionising radiation and can’t harm the DNA. The SWIFT treatment only employs extremely low energy levels capable of vibrating water molecules within skin cells. It is harmless to any other tissue.
- Is it covered under insurance?
Most private health insurances cover podiatry. However, check your cover before setting an appointment as it affects your treatment fees and rebates.
If you feel that you have a plantar wart, do set an appointment with your podiatrist to get it checked. Although it is not a reason to panic, you should get it treated as soon as possible.