Plantar warts (warts on the bottom of the foot) are super common; they are also a super bother. Fortunately, the chiropodists at our clinic provide the following wart removal treatments (in order of invasiveness) for children and adults:
It usually takes multiple treatments to fully eradicate plantar warts.
For more information about the above treatments, please see the “Treatment Options” section below.
Most private insurers will cover plantar wart removal treatments. See the “Insurance & Coverage” section below for more information.
We treat plantar warts at all stages in children and adults. To start the treatment process:
We strongly recommend pre-booking your follow-up treatments to ensure appointment availability and that your treatment is not interrupted. Having treatments too far apart may impact the effectiveness of the treatment.
The number of treatments required often depends on the size and number of warts involved.
People respond differently to different wart removal treatments, so it is important to find which one works best for you. In general, the more aggressive the treatment, the quicker the resolution and higher the success rate.
Treating plantar warts is a process; it typically requires multiple treatments approximately 2-3 weeks apart. Plantar warts often cannot be successfully instantly removed with one treatment.
The following are some treatment options your chiropodist may discuss with you (from least to most aggressive):
A chiropodist can prescribe a high-strength salicylic acid topical solution that you can apply regularly at home. It works by softening the skin and helping shed layers of skin and wart bit by bit. You would then come in for follow-up visits to see how treatment is progressing. Salicylic Acid is a relatively painless option for wart removal; however it can sometimes take longer than other treatments.
Cryotherapy is a standard, quick, highly effective and non-invasive method for removing plantar warts. The chiropodist applies a freezing substance (usually liquid nitrogen) to the wart with a cotton swab or spray, which freezes and kills the wart and all affected tissue. A blister then forms around the wart; when the blister dries up over the next few days, the wart may fall off.
The treatment is repeated every 2 to 3 weeks until the wart is fully removed. The number of treatments required depends on the size and number of warts. Cryotherapy also stimulates the immune system to fight off the virus. The treatment itself takes less than a minute. It may cause some pain, but the pain is temporary and usually lessens with each treatment. A local anesthetic can be applied beforehand to numb any pain, but it is usually not needed.
Cantharone is a potent topical solution applied directly to the wart that works by forming a blister over the skin and underlying wart. The active ingredient is Cantharidin, a blistering agent that breaks down the skin’s outer layers all the way down to the wart. This separates the wart from the skin covering it and brings the wart to the surface. When the liquid dries, the wart is covered and sealed with a special tape.
It is recommended to keep the area dry and covered for up to 24 hours after treatment. A blister then forms within 24 to 48 hours. The blister then dries over the next few days and the wart falls off. Healing is usually complete within 4 to 7 days. The treatment is repeated until the wart is fully removed.
Although the treatment itself isn’t painful, the resulting blister may be uncomfortable. For more information, see the video below:
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Needling is a simple, but more invasive wart removal procedure. A local anesthetic is first applied to numb the area. The wart is then punctured with a sterile needle approximately 100 times. This pushes the virus further into the body, which triggers an immune response to help your body fight off the virus that causes plantar warts. If the procedure is successful, your body’s immune response will fight off any other warts and make them go away.
Needling is often used for people with multiple warts or clusters (mosaic plantar warts), or for particularly stubborn cases of plantar warts that resist other less invasive treatments. It is about 70% effective.
For more information, see the video below or visit our Surgical Procedures page.
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Excision is a surgical procedure used for plantar warts that resist other treatments. The foot is first numbed with a local anesthetic. Then, as the name implies, the wart is cut away (or “excised”) from the skin. The base is also cauterized to ensure no living viral tissue is left behind. There is a risk of scarring, so this method isn’t used unless other treatments have failed. For more information, see the Surgical Procedures page.
Wart treatment by a chiropodist is not covered by OHIP; however most private insurers will cover it.
If you are unsure about your benefits and coverage for chiropodist services, you can contact your insurance company directly, or check with your employer’s HR department to receive a breakdown of your policy.
We recommend verifying your benefits coverage directly with your insurance company prior to your appointment.
To book an appointment for wart removal, you can fill out our online form or contact us at 416-769-3338.
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If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.