GHS Cares: How to Combat Those Pesky Warts


Do you, or perhaps your child, have a wart that is difficult to get rid of? Common warts, or warts most frequently found on hands, and plantar warts, which take root on the bottom of the foot, are complaints we hear frequently at Granville Primary Care Butner-Creedmoor. These warts are caused by a virus and are usually transmitted by direct skin contact. Children and young adults are most frequently afflicted, but they can occur at all ages.

Fact #1 Warts are characterized by central black dots and can be confused with other skin ailments.

Warts can sometimes be confused with corns, skin tags and certain types of moles. Warts usually have black dots in the center and can last for years if not treated. Most warts are not dangerous and will go away over months to years even if left untreated. However, warts can cause pain and are a general nuisance, so most people do not enjoy the prospect of waiting months to years for resolution.

Fact #2 While it may be recommended to have warts checked by a doctor, there are over-the-counter treatment options.

There are many options for wart treatment. It is important to know that most wart treatments take time to work, so patience is a key element. The first and easiest option is an over-the-counter medicine called salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is available as a liquid that can be brushed onto the wart. You can buy it in small bottles at your local pharmacy without a prescription. The strongest over-the-counter formulation of salicylic acid is found in a product called “The Wart Stick,” which you can buy online. The best routine for applying salicylic acid when a wart appears on the foot involves soaking the foot (your daily shower is often sufficient), removing any overlying or surrounding dead skin, and applying salicylic acid daily. Be prepared for weeks of this routine. There is some speculation that covering the wart with duct tape after application of salicylic acid can be helpful in the removal process.

Fact #3 Freezing of the wart may be another option that your doctor can offer you for wart treatment.

If salicylic acid isn’t doing the trick or the daily routine is difficult, cryotherapy is another option. Cryotherapy is the use of extreme cold, often in the form of liquid nitrogen, to freeze the wart. Many primary care providers, including those at Granville Primary Care, Butner-Creedmoor, are happy to provide this service. Cryotherapy is repeated in the office every 2-4 weeks until the wart resolves. Cryotherapy is uncomfortable and can sometimes cause blistering, but it often speeds resolution. Occasionally, even cryotherapy isn’t effective and other therapies can be offered by your provider.

Once a wart has been successfully treated, it’s important to focus on prevention. Wearing flip flops at the local pool and in public showers and frequent hand washing can help minimize spread.

Dr. Liz Baltaro and Dr. Amy Nayo are primary care physicians expanding community access to quality pediatric and family medicine at Granville Primary Care, Butner-Creedmoor, located at 1614 NC Highway 56, Butner. To schedule your primary care appointment, please call 919-575-6103 or schedule online at You can schedule a primary care appointment with a provider as far as 12 months in advance through online scheduling.

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