Why is my wart taking so loooong to clear up?

You may find yourself asking this question if you are under treatment for a wart. A wart is a skin lesion or spot on the foot that may appear as a callous with brown/black speckles. When warts present on the feet, they are normally found on the bottom surface, which they are then known as plantar’s warts. Other signs and symptoms of a plantar’s wart include a spot or lesion on the foot that interrupts the normal skin lines (foot print lines) or a callous that appears on a spot of the foot that is not necessarily subject to friction or pressure. These can be flat or raised. These are usually painful with walking or squeezing of the lesion, but not always. Warts are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. Therefore, these can usually be contracted in community locker rooms, pools, or anywhere someone can potentially walk barefoot in public areas. These are spread from person to person. This also means that if a family member has a wart, you may easily get a plantar’s wart as well.

Once the wart or virus establishes a residence in the skin, it starts dividing to form many friends. This is why warts can grow. In addition to this, the virus creates a large mass or big bundle of capillaries (tiny blood vessels underneath the skin) and this is how the virus becomes very strong as it obtains an abundant blood supply. The wart literally “has it made!” Since the wart is having a great field day living off your blood supply, it finds ways to hide itself from your own immune system. Can this get any worse?

The answer is yes! When your podiatrist starts treatment for a wart, he or she has to perform a very fine balancing act. Since this unwelcome guest is living off of your own blood supply and skin, the goal of treatment is to start cutting off blood supply to the wart or remove skin containing the wart. Basically, a very unfriendly environment needs to be made so that this wart can die off. Problem is…this unfriendly environment is being made on your own skin. This is why certain wart treatments can cause blistering or pain. Worse yet, if you’ve got a lot of walking to do, you may not be very happy. Therefore, your podiatrist has to scare and kill this wart off without causing you excessive pain, blistering or scarring.

In order to keep sane and maximize your benefit of treatment, the key is to remain calm and patient. It may take several treatments to clear this up and EVEN MORE if the wart has been present for several months or a year. Your podiatrist may even give you instructions for treatments to perform at home in between office visits ie, creams, mild acids etc… Remain consistent and perform any at home treatments your doctor has prescribed. Don’t discontinue treatment prematurely. You may think that your wart is gone but attend all office visits and continue treatments until your doctor advises discontinuation of treatment or a maintenance plan. Avoid walking barefoot in public places. Avoid recontamination by alternating shoes daily (try to wear a different pair every day), use shoe disinfectant sprays, or throw out significantly worn or very old shoes.

Most importantly, contact your podiatrist’s office if there is any suspicion of a wart. The sooner this is found and treated the sooner it will go away.


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