Unsightly though they may be, warts are rarely a serious health problem. Warts are benign lesions that are caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV). They are very common among children, often popping up on fingers, toes, and knees. The virus is contagious and is more likely to invade skin that is open or compromised. Warts have many different presentations and can essentially affect any location. Most often, they are painless flesh colored bumps. However, they can also be dark in color, flat, and smooth. In some locations, especially the feet, they can become quite tender with pressure.
Persistence is key in treatment, as warts can be quite stubborn. Often, multiple treatments are necessary in order to clear warts. The most common treatment that we provide for warts is liquid nitrogen, also known as “freezing”. Other options include topical preparations containing salicylic acid or imiquimod, surgical removal of the lesions, and immunotherapy which either involves a series of injections of the Candida antigen or topical application of a sensitizing agent such as Squaric Acid. In stubborn cases, we will often combine several of these methods at the same time. If you’re concerned that your child won’t tolerate the discomfort associated with traditional methods, we also offer pain-free treatments.
By the way…Don’t scratch them. Viral particles can spread to other skin areas, causing warts elsewhere on your body. (It can take up to 12 months for new warts to appear.) In order to prevent the spread of warts, avoid picking the areas. Also wear shoes or flip-flops in areas such as pools, gyms or public showers. Try to keep warts on the foot dry as the moisture can lead to the proliferation of the lesions.
While warts are benign, they can often be very challenging to effectively treat. Be patient during therapy as time and often multiple treatments are needed.