Plantar warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), and can be spread in moist environments such as public swimming pools and showers. Those with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for developing warts. Warts are typically self-limiting, however many patients seek treatment for cosmetic reasons and to prevent its spread. From least to most aggressive, treatments include: silver nitrate, salicylic acid, immunomodulators, Canthacur-PS, liquid nitrogen, laser treatment, surgical excision, and Dry Needling for Plantar Warts
There are a few treatment options for plantar warts that a Chiropodist can provide. Dry needling is one of the treatments for plantar warts that the general public may not be aware of.
What is Dry Needling?
Dry needling is a technique that can initiate an immune response to fight off plantar warts. Since warts are located in the upper layers of the skin, the immune system is unable to detect the virus and fight it. The idea behind dry needling is to push the virus particles deeper into the body in order to initiate an immune response. Dry needling for plantar warts is the use of a fine needle to treat the plantar wart. During this treatment the Chiropodist uses the needle to pierce the skin, and force the infected down into the lower layers. Pushing the affected tissue down to where the immune system is more active, allows the body’s natural immune response a greater chance at targeting the problem area.
It takes approximately 2-4 months to see the wart resolved. Dry needling has a 90% success rate, and it is best in cases where the patient has multiple warts as only one wart has to be needled to show a response.
Local anesthesia is injected around and under the wart to ensure the area is numb. Once the area is anesthetized, a needle is used to poke the wart until it is actively bleeding and raw (approximately 100 times). Once the bleeding has stopped, it is covered with a gauze dressing. The patient is able to weight bear immediately, however once the anesthesia wears off (1-3 hours) the area may be painful for the next few days. Afterwards the patient does not need to do any self-care, but they will need to come in for regular follow-up appointments to remove the overlying callus.
The majority of cases of plantar warts can be resolved with one round of dry needling treatment. Many people are worried that dry needling warts may be painful. The procedure for warts is actually considered a minor surgical procedure. It is performed under local anesthesia, so pain during the procedure is not a large concern. As offputting as needles may be for this type of procedure, if you have a single plantar wart or a cluster that is expanding, dry needling may be a less painful and more effective way to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.