Plantar Warts: Myths, Truths & Removal Options

Treatment for Plantar WartsIt is well known lore in America that touching frogs causes warts. Now since most of us have handled a frog or two in our childhood, we can be pretty certain that isn’t the case. Frogs are one common myth, but there are countless others that surround the wart.

For instance, in the Philippines handling a plain colored chicken is a sure way to pick up a wart. Chickens are plentiful in the Philippines, however having one that is plain apparently is not. Rats are the cause in Asia. Touching rats is a definite road to finding yourself with a wart.

As many ways as there are to “catch” a wart, there are just as many, if not more, ideas on how to cure them. From strands of human hair tied around a wart, to tapping a wart when you hear a lightening strike, to even having a wart whisperer whisper to it, generations of people have practiced various methods of wart removal.

The plain truth is, warts are just no fun. They are unsightly, often painful, and not so easy to get rid of. The human papillomavirus is to blame, and although warts can be found on different areas of the body, the plantar wart shows up on the bottom of the foot.

The virus enters through small open areas of the foot, and likes warm moist areas, so places like wet locker room floors are ideal places to pick it up. However, not everyone is susceptible to contracting them due to differences in immune systems. Warts are not highly contagious. These factors may explain why not everyone in the same household may have a plantar wart when one person is affected.

Plantar warts can present themselves as small fleshy grainy growths coming outwards from the skin, or if they are on a pressure point, they may show as buried under a layer of hard callus with a defined spot in the middle. Although the dark spots are often called “seeds”, they are actually small clotted blood vessels. Often times a person will feel pain in the area of a wart when standing or walking.

The worst thing about a plantar wart is it doesn’t go away quickly on its own. A wart can typically last for a few years before it disappears, and often it will spread to different areas of the foot. Many people attempt to treat warts at home with various home remedies, but most haven’t been proven scientifically, and it takes a long time to cure a wart this way if it works at all.

If you have tried treating warts at home with no success, its time to visit a Boston podiatrist. There are different treatment options we may recommend. Freezing, surgery and laser treatments are often used to treat plantar warts. A topical substance called cantharidin (secreted from the blister beetle) is also an option. A strong form of salicylic acid topical used over a period of weeks, or special injections to stimulate the immune system are other forms of wart treatment.

If you are troubled by plantar warts contact our Boston foot clinic today.

Considering Laser Treatment for Toenail Fungus

Laser Treatment for Toenail FungusA toenail fungus infection can quickly develop once an organism known as a Dermatophyte begins to feed on the keratin and protein stores contained within your nail. This fungus can rapidly drain these vital substances from your toenail, causing the painful and unsightly symptoms associated with this serious medical disorder. Unfortunately, toenail fungus (Onychomycosis) is very challenging to successfully treat, as repeat infections are common. Continually struggling with fungal infections can very often lead to discoloration, disfiguration, and eventual destruction of the entire nail.

If you currently suffer from this disease, you’re probably all too familiar with the medications commonly prescribed to treat it. Although these drugs can provide very effective results and relief from this debilitating condition, there are certainly serious side effects strongly associated with these treatment regimens. Many Boston podiatrists will often prescribe an oral medication, such as Lamisil or Sporanox to combat toenail fungal infections. Unfortunately, these drugs may cause minor side effects, possible liver damage, and can even be life threatening.

Alternative treatments for these fungal infections are available to those suffering with the condition. Many people aren’t aware that a laser can be effectively used to alleviate the symptoms of this disorder, and the number of podiatrists offering laser treatment for toenail fungus is increasing. This option is certainly one to explore and consider if you don’t want to risk the side effects of medication.

Scientific research studies have revealed that the laser inhibits overall fungal growth and provides the patient’s body with an opportunity to heal itself. Using a laser to combat toenail fungal infection has been reported to be effective in over 80% of patients who have tried it. A typical treatment session lasts anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes in duration, and a patient may be required to go through 2 to 4 laser sessions (spread out over time), depending on how severe the infection is.

If you have made the educated decision to get Boston laser treatment for toenail fungus infection, please note that we do not currently offer this procedure at our offices. However, do not hesitate to contact our Boston foot clinic if you have any questions or would like to explore other toenail fungus treatment options that we have seen great success with over the years.

Aging Population Needs Podiatry Services

Elderly Patient Foot CareThe Marlborough podiatry industry is growing as an aging population and related factors fuel an increased need for foot care services. These are some future trends in podiatry along with resources that can help seniors take better care of their feet.

A recent article in describes continued growth in the podiatry industry due to demographic trends and increasing rates of diabetes and other conditions that require specialized foot care. Analysts found that 2012 revenue has grown 1.5% from 2011 and is expected to reach $4.7 billion for an annual total. Further increases are expected in 2014 as more people acquire health insurance as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed in 2010.

The practice of podiatry is also undergoing significant changes. As of now, most Marlborough podiatrists are still solo practitioners, but they are increasingly joining larger group practices. This is expected to help manage rising costs and lead to more patients receiving care from podiatrists rather than their primary care provider for foot ailments.

If you’re a senior with sore feet, there are many surgical and non-surgical options to correct common problems and help you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. The National Institute on Aging, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, provides free information on preventive care and treatment. Their recommendations include wearing comfortable shoes that fit properly and getting your feet checked regularly. Talk with your foot doctor about tingling or numbness that could be signs of diabetes, or swelling that could indicate heart disease. Pain is often caused by treatable foot disorders and does not have to be accepted as a normal part of aging.

For more information on how to keep your feet comfortable and healthy as you grow older, contact our Marlborough podiatry office today.

Image courtesy of Ambro /

Shin Splints: One of The Most Common Running Injuries

Shin Splint TreatmentMany runners, especially newbies, run the risk (no pun intended) of experiencing running injuries. Running can be a highly impactful cardio exercise. It has many benefits associated with the mind and body that can give you a very beneficial experience. In addition to being a great form of cardio workout, it can also do a world of good for your mood and mental well-being to go for a run on a warm summer morning with the sun out and the birds singing.

Nobody wants to ruin this feeling of a healthy mind and body by encountering a troublesome running injury. People all too often start a healthy new endeavor such as a running regimen without the prior knowledge of how to properly stretch, train, and maintain their routine.

Medial tibial stress syndrome, more commonly known as “shin splints”, is perhaps the most common form of running injury. When not treated properly or given its proper time to heal, however, it can be very disruptive to your running regimen. Shin splints are best characterized by a pain that occurs towards the front and along the inside or down the outside of your lower leg. There are, however, preventive measures you can take to avoid this very common problem.

The first thing you should do to prevent shin splints from occurring in the first place, is to take great care in stretching out before starting a run. Properly stretching the Achilles, calf, and arch of the foot will go a long way in preventing shin splints in the first place. The next thing you can do is to increase distance by very small increments. Shin splints often occur from greatly increasing your distance too much and too soon.

If you are unfortunate enough to already have shin splints or encounter them in the future, the acronym to remember is RICE; or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. To treat shin splints properly, you need to take the proper time away from your running program by resting your leg for an adequate time off. This will give your tibia the amount of time away from impact that it needs to heal. Icing while elevating the affected leg will help with the pain and get you back to your running program in no time.

As with anything else, knowledge goes a long way in treating the problem, and you can enjoy your routine of healthy mind and body again very quickly just by being prepared. Remember…if you are having any foot or ankle related pain you should contact our Boston podiatry office today.

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1153 Centre Street
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Boston, MA 02130
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