What’s the Best Way to Treat Warts on Feet?

When it comes to foot warts, there’s no shortage of “treatments” out there that have been suggested. We’ve heard them all—from low-tech, home-based options like duct tape and garlic to several different office-based procedures.

With so many possible remedies out there, it’s no wonder we get questions about warts all the time. “Hey doc, do any of these actually work? What’s the best option? What should I do?”

Here’s the good news: YES, there is one option in particular that we believe will be the absolute best choice for the majority of people with foot warts, including young children and immunocompromised individuals. It’s called Swift Microwave Therapy, and if you just want the info on this exciting procedure, feel free to skip down to the end of the blog.

Before we get there, though, let’s talk about some of the other solutions out there—if only to see why Swift really is the best.

warts on feet

Option 1: Do Nothing

Ignoring your plantar warts is an option if they are not bothering you. Most warts will go away on their own, although it may take months or years.

However, we do strongly encourage that you take steps to treat your warts—and not just because you’ll look better and feel better. Warts are contagious, and if you ignore them they can easily spread to other parts of your body, or even to other people that you live or interact with. 

While you may not be especially bothered by your warts now, it’s better to stop them before they have a chance to become a much larger and more difficult problem.

OUR RATING: Not recommended.

Option 2: Home and Over-the-Counter Remedies

The best thing you can say about home remedies like the “duct tape method,” rubbing with garlic or baking powder paste, and other popular home remedies is that most of them aren’t dangerous to attempt, as long as you aren’t cutting into your skin or applying corrosive acids or chemicals.

Unfortunately, there’s very little evidence to suggest that any of these home remedies actually work. Over-the-counter wart remover kits you can get at the pharmacy are only slightly better, with cure rates that are still pretty low—especially if you have multiple warts, or your warts are large.

So why do people still stand by home remedies? Most likely, it’s just coincidence. As we said, many warts eventually go away on their own (although this process often takes months if not years). If the wart does go away, you might think it’s the result of something you did—but in reality, it’s probably just your immune system finally managing to take it out on its own.

OUR RATING: Ineffective or minimally effective in most cases.

Option 3: Non-Surgical Wart Removal Procedures

If you go to most podiatrists, general practitioners, or pediatricians for foot warts, you will very likely have one of these procedures recommended to you. Common examples include using salicylic acid to “peel” off the top layers of the wart, or cryotherapy (typically using liquid nitrogen) to “freeze” the wart off.

These treatments are much more effective than home or over-the-counter options. However, there are still some drawbacks. Often there will be some post-procedural pain, and maybe some collateral damage to healthy skin. Some home aftercare is required, and several sessions are usually required to fully eliminate the wart.

OUR RATING: Usually effective, but suboptimal.

Option 4: Surgical Excision

Consider this the “nuclear option.” If your wart is extremely large or has resisted other forms of treatment, your doctor might recommend cutting it out completely.

While this gets rid of the wart, obviously, it’s also the most painful option, has the highest risk of complications, and requires the most aftercare. There’s another problem, too: since simply removing the wart may not actually clear the viral infection from your system, the wart may return anyway.

OUR RATING: Use only as a last resort.

warts on feet

Option 5: Swift Microwave Therapy

Until we recently added Swift Microwave Therapy to our office, we (like most foot doctors) typically recommended option 3. However, we’ve been extremely impressed with Swift—and so have our patients! It’s now the top recommended option in the vast majority of cases.

Swift uses a novel approach to wart treatment. Instead of peeling, freezing, or extracting the wart from the outside in, it uses a brief application of microwaves to trigger and direct an immune response. The microwaves heat up water molecules which destroy the damaged tissue, accelerate the healing process, and trigger an immune response that fights the underlying infection. Once the infection is cleared, the visible signs of the wart disappear on their own—and although reinfection is always possible, recurrence is much less likely than other therapies.

Why is Swift so great? Here are just a few reasons why:

  • It’s effective. The success rate for this treatment is around 85%, which is higher than any other traditional wart treatment. The warts are also much less likely to come back afterward, since Swift actually treats the infection itself, rather than just removing the wart.
  • Much less pain. There is no post-procedural pain whatsoever. You might feel a mild, hot “stinging” sensation for 2-3 seconds during direct application of the treatment, but this goes away almost immediately afterward. No anesthetic is required.
  • It’s convenient. Treatment sessions are extremely short. All we need to do is very lightly debride the wart (this is painless and takes just a few minutes at most) and then apply the microwave therapy, which only lasts 2-3 seconds. You can be in and out in less than 15 minutes in some cases. Typically, only 2-3 total treatment sessions are required to completely eradicate the wart, spaced out over 2-4 weeks.
  • No aftercare or downtime. Swift doesn’t break the skin. It actually attacks the infection from the inside out, rather than the outside in. So there’s no need to bandage the wart afterward or “go easy on it” after you walk out of our office. Just go back to your normal day.
  • It’s safe. Microwaves have been used therapeutically for more than three decades, and Swift Microwave Therapy specifically has passed through years of clinical testing with flying colors.

OUR RATING: Best overall treatment option for the vast majority of patients. 

Get Rid of Those Foot Warts Swiftly!

We hope we’ve made the case that foot warts should be treated, and that Swift Microwave Therapy should be at the top of your list!

So if you’re ready to get rid of those warts for good—or you just want more information about how we can help you—be sure to give our office in Lee’s Summit a call at (816) 246-4222, or request an appointment online. We are here to help!