When it comes to getting rid of pesky plantar warts (lesions, caused by the HPV virus, that form on the bottom of your feet) you’ve got options. Now, some patients try to treat their warts at home, using over-the-counter products that are slow to work and are often painful. In our Powder Springs podiatry practice, though, we offer two effective—and comfortable—treatment options. But how can you choose between laser treatment vs swift therapy for plantar warts? We’ll review your options in a minute. But first, let’s get a better understanding of how and why you develop these lesions in the first place.

Identifying Plantar Warts: What are the Symptoms?

Plantar warts often look different than warts that form on other parts of your feet. Here are the signs to look for:

  • Small growths that form on the soles or bottom of your feet.
  • Growths are rough in texture, and may look a little like cauliflower.
  • Your feet may feel sore or tender when you stand and walk.
  • Applying pressure to the growths will cause discomfort.
  • There are visible black dots on the surface of the growth.
  • Calluses may form around the wart because of the pressure increase in the area.

So, now you know what to look for if you suspect you’ve developed plantar warts. But here’s why they get to your feet.

What causes plantar warts to form? mosaic plantar warts

Warts are caused by a specific strain of human papillomavirus (HPV) that gets under your skin, usually through little cracks in the surface of your skin tissue. Of course, there are many different kinds of warts. But, when they form on the bottom of your feet, they’re called plantar warts. (Or, if they form in clusters on your soles, they’re called mosaic warts.)

Unfortunately, these warts are often painful—after all, you spend your whole day putting the pressure of your body weight on them. Plus, they’re pretty common, especially if you walk around barefoot around the pool or shared shower areas, since the virus that causes these warts loves warm, wet areas.
Now, that’s the bad news—but here’s the bright side. While the warts are painful, treatment doesn’t have to be—and that is true whether you choose laser treatment or Swift therapy for plantar warts. So let’s get a better understanding of both treatment options!

Laser Treatment for Warts

In our Lost Mountain neighborhood podiatry practice, Dr. Alvin Cowans uses the Class IV laser for wart removal. This wart treatment option is highly effective because it uses two different attack plans to target plantar warts.  First, the laser’s warm waves heats the little blood vessels that live inside each wart, allowing it to stay alive. That heat destroys the blood vessels, and that gets rid of the wart’s nutrition, causing them to ‘starve’ and fall off.
But that’s not all! The warm laser’s heat helps turn on your body’s internal healing processes, penetrating deep beneath the skin to directly target the HPV virus causing wart formation. As a result, within weeks of beginning laser treatment, most people see their plantar warts disappear.

Swift Therapy for Plantar Warts

Swift Therapy is an FDA-approved plantar wart treatment. Like laser treatment, it works by targeting and eliminating the HPV virus that causes these warts to form on the bottom of your feet. Yet, instead of using laser light waves, this treatment option uses microwave energy to uncloak and attack that virus. As a result, in a session that lasts mere minutes, you can target your warts without damaging any of the surrounding healthy tissue.
Now, a lot happens during those short treatment sessions. When Swift goes to work, "turns on" the immune system, so your body can fight the virus on its own.  After, because your body has learned to identify and fight off the wart-causing virus, warts treated with Swift therapy have a recurrence rate that’s below one percent.

Laser Treatment vs Swift Therapy for Plantar Warts: Choosing Your Best Option

Not sure which treatment is best for your needs? Here is a guide to the pros and cons of each treatment option.

Laser Treatment

Pros: Treatment is very precise and targeted. It is also effective for most warts, not just plantar warts.
Cons: Some patients find treatment is uncomfortable, there is a slight potential for scarring.

Swift Therapy

Pros: Faster treatment (Full results can usually be seen after just two to three sessions, according to this study), minimal pain, less scarring. Very low rate of recurrence following treatment.

Cons: Upfront costs may be higher, but cost over time is typically lower because of the need for fewer treatment sessions. In a retrospective review of plantar wart treatment options, researchers discovered that Swift therapy may be more effective for younger patients, and less so in older populations.

Choosing the Best Plantar Wart Treatment in Powder Springs

When you’re trying to choose the best plantar wart treatment option for you or your child, we know that the options can be overwhelming. That’s why we never expect you to make that choice alone. Instead, we invite you to click here and request an appointment in the office, where we can review your treatment options. After a comprehensive exam and consultation, we can review factors like your tolerance for pain; your schedule and any constraints on your time; your insurance plan and budget; and the number of warts you’re planning to treat at once. Because, while both laser treatment and Swift therapy for plantar warts are both effective treatment options, the one that’s best for you will take into account your answer to each of the questions above.