Understanding warts and why we use Laser

Warts are a painful, highly contagious and often difficult to manage skin infections that are regularly seen on the feet of patients of all ages and walks of life.

They are often referred to as verruca, plantar warts and papillomas and are frequently mistaken for other conditions such as corns or calluses which are caused by friction and not an infection. Warts are caused by a viral infection from the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Science knows of approximately 120 different types of HPV but only nine are known to infect the skin of the human foot.

Warts appear on the foot in two major variations, singular and mosaic, this being determined by the type of HPV that has infected the skin cells. It is accepted that small breaks in the skin’s outer layer (epidermis), usually caused by micro-trauma, allow the virus to invade the cell nucleus of those cells that make our skin and effectively hijack their DNA. These cells then stop producing normal skin and make what we see as “wart tissue”.

Both forms of warts are painful, both forms spread and both forms are contagious. Singular warts however tend to more painful when they override weight-bearing areas on the sole of the foot. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults whilst some people seem to be immune to the virus. It is thought that a combination of softer skin that breaks more easily combined with children’s greater exposure to places where this type of virus will spread such as swimming pools, locker rooms, school camps and shared showering facilities make this so.

Singular plantar warts are usually an orderly shape, circular or ovoid, with a well demarcated edge whilst the mosaic variety vary dramatically depending on the number of separate warts that exist inside the conglomerate. It is not unusual for a mosaic wart to have 150-200 separate warts within its boundary. Skin lines will always cease at the edge of a wart and it is common for small black pinpoints to appear in the central mass of the wart, these represent strangled or thrombosed capillaries and not the roots of the wart. Singular plantar warts always produce pain when subjected to lateral or “side-side” finger pressure, unlike corns which are more irritated with direct pressure.

Warts of all varieties are too often left untreated. A single wart can grow to a size of 15-20 mm or more in a relatively short period time. The most common reasons for this are a combination of misdiagnosis and poor management.

Warts are managed numerous different ways and no one treatment has the answers to all cases. Recently there has been a significant scientific breakthrough in the treatment of warts. Cutera USA has developed the GenesisPlus laser for the safe and effective treatment of warts. Give us a call to see a wart podiatrist.

How does the GenesisPlus Laser work?

When used to treat warts, the laser light is absorbed by the blood vessels inside the wart and their blood flow is shut down. Without a blood supply the wart simply dies.

Whilst treatment of larger or multiple warts can be moderately painful, local anaesthesia can be employed to provide a pain free application.

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