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“Beetle Juice” and other treatments for plantar warts

Dr. Kellner talks about treatments for warts on the foot, also called plantar warts or verruca plantaris. Beetle juice topica

“Beetle Juice” and other treatments for plantar warts


Even if it sounds like it, this is not a halloween movie inspired article. Indeed, “beetle juice” is a podiatrist's first choice and a very effective treatment for warts in the feet, called “plantar warts”, or in the medical field “verruca plantaris”. 
Under the scientific name of cantharidin, this topical medication is able to kill the viral infection caused by a common species of human papillomavirus with impressive results. Usually, after a few applications the plantar wart peels completely off the affected foot.
Depending on the size and severity of the wart, the process might look something out of a zombie flick. But don’t worry, as your soles will return to a normal, healthy and pain free state. This is why I recommend seeking treatment as early as possible. Earlier treatment means for easier treatment.

It’s a summer trend

Recently, I have been seeing children and adults alike with plantar warts. Actually, children more so than adults. Since warts are caused by a viral infection easily transmitted in our environment through direct and indirect contact, summertime tends to be the time to get it. After being in contact with the virus, it could take days or months for the wart to develop, or the virus could happily ever after live on the skin without causing any harm.
The best way to prevent it is avoiding being barefoot in swimming pools, saunas, locker rooms, martial arts dojos and other public spaces, although that is not always possible. Not sharing socks and shoes is important too. However, at times this viral infection of the skin occurs spontaneously and inevitably. 
Plantar warts often appear on the skin as a small callus with small black dots in the middle, which are tiny blood vessels that proliferate with presence of the virus. And those black dots are exactly what differentiates normal calluses from warts. 

Over the counter treatments 

Patients tend to come in for treatment because the wart is causing pain, pressure and discomfort. Or because over the counter treatments didn’t work. In some cases, people wait to see if the wart will go away on its own, which could eventually happen.
Initially, you may choose to monitor the plantar warts and attempt some over the counter treatments available, like freezing and salicylic acid pads. But you should not wait to seek professional consultation if the warts are painful or spreading.
Some people choose to try covering the plantar warts with duct tape, however I find this to be more of an old wives remedy without any scientific backing.

Advanced treatments

For the beetle juice treatment, we scrape down the wart, remove the callus part and paint the medication on. The patient leaves it on for about four hours, then removes the bandage and washes the area clean. The cantharidin creates a blister that gets the wart to peel off.
In some cases, we add laser therapy along with the beetle juice to kill the root of the wart. On rare occasions surgical removal of the lesions is needed. 
With any of the treatments available, patients may experience some discomfort and soreness for a few days after the procedure. At Central Massachusetts Podiatry, we treat warts in both our Worcester and Westborough locations. Call 508-757-4003 for an appointment or book online.
Read also: Pain free treatment for ingrown toenails
Dr. Sam Kellner Dr. Samuel Kellner is a foot and ankle surgeon at Central Massachusetts Podiatry, in Worcester and Westborough. Dr. Kellner is dedicated to helping his patients heal from foot injuries that stop them from daily activities. He also plays basketball and likes to spend his free time with his wife, infant son, and two cats.

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