Hand and foot treatments

Treatment for warts on hands or fingers

Common hand and finger warts are small, grainy skin growths. They are rough to the touch, common warts also often feature a pattern of tiny black dots — sometimes called seeds — which are small, clotted blood vessels.

The goals of treatment are to destroy the wart, stimulate an immune system response to fight the virus, or both. Treatment may take weeks or months. Even with treatment, warts tend to reoccur or spread. Doctors generally start with the least painful methods, especially when treating young children.


  • Salicylic acid
    Prescription-strength wart medications with salicylic acid work by removing layers of the wart in stages. Studies show that salicylic acid is more effective when combined with freezing.

 

  • Cryotherapy
    Freezing therapy done at a GP's office involves applying liquid nitrogen to your wart. Freezing works by causing a blister to form under and around your wart. Then, the dead tissue sloughs off within a week or so. This method may also stimulate your immune system to fight viral warts. You may need more than one treatment.

 

  • Bichloroacetic or trichloroacetic acid
    If salicylic acid or freezing isn't working, your doctor may try bichloroacetic or trichloroacetic acid. With this method, the doctor first shaves the surface of the wart and then applies the acid with a wooden toothpick. It requires repeat treatments every week or so. Side effects are burning and stinging.

 

  • Laser
    Laser treatment. Pulsed-dye laser treatment burns (cauterizes) tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off. The evidence for the effectiveness of this method is limited, and it can cause pain and scarring.

Treatment for foot warts

Plantar warts and palmer warts will often eventually go away without treatment. If they bother you, however, you can treat common skin warts in a variety of ways. Even if a treatment is successful, the wart can reappear.


  • Salicylic acid
    Prescription-strength wart medications with salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart a little bit at a time. Studies show that salicylic acid is more effective when combined with freezing.

 

  • Cryotherapy
    Freezing therapy done at a GP's office involves applying liquid nitrogen to your wart. Freezing works by causing a blister to form under and around your wart. Then, the dead tissue sloughs off within a week or so. This method may also stimulate your immune system to fight viral warts. You may need more than one treatment.

 

  • Bichloroacetic or trichloroacetic acid
    If salicylic acid or freezing isn't working, your doctor may try bichloroacetic or trichloroacetic acid. With this method, the doctor first shaves the surface of the wart and then applies the acid with a wooden toothpick. It requires repeat treatments every week or so. Side effects are burning and stinging.

 

  • Laser
    Laser treatment. Pulsed-dye laser treatment burns (cauterizes) tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off. The evidence for the effectiveness of this method is limited, and it can cause pain and scarring.

 

  • Surgery
    Surgery is an option if home treatment and treatment at your doctor's office have failed. Surgery for warts is usually quick and effective. No single surgical method is more effective than another in removing warts. Generally, doctors start with the surgical method that is least likely to cause scarring. The most common types of surgical treatment for wart removal include:
    Electrosurgery and curettage. Electrosurgery is burning the wart with an electrical current. Curettage is cutting off the wart with a sharp knife or a small, spoon-shaped tool. The two procedures are often used together.

 

  • Laser surgery.
    Laser surgery burns off the wart with an intense beam of light.