Our Blog

Warts, Witches, and Toads

  • Dr. Bruce Zappan
  • January 22, 2018

Hundreds of years ago, warts were taken a little more seriously than they are now, not that a plantar wart still can’t ruin your day! But in the Dark Ages, a deformity like a wart growing on your skin could very well have been a sign that you were in fact a witch, and treatment consisted of you being burned at the stake.

We don’t burn witches for having warts much anymore, but that doesn’t keep a few other myths and misconceptions about warts from being prevalent. For instance, you can’t get a wart from touching a toad. But since the virus that causes warts is transmittable from person to person, you could conceivably touch a wart on a witch and catch the disease. So toads are fine, but witch warts—not so good.

Fortunately, we now have some common sense facts and science to back up our understanding of warts, what causes them, and how to treat them without excessive amounts of wood and fire.

The Facts: Warts are growths that can appear anywhere on the skin and they are caused by a virus. Warts most commonly grow on your hands or on the bottom of your feet, where they are called plantar warts. A wart can vary in size from small to large, the surface can be rough or sometimes smooth, and one wart can lead to additional warts known as a cluster.

Treatment: Many over-the-counter remedies are available to treat warts. You will have varying degrees of success with these methods depending upon the warts’ severity. For more difficult to treat warts, it will be necessary to enlist the expertise of a podiatrist. Acid treatments can be effective but may take many treatments. Cutting out the wart after application of a local anesthetic is more invasive, but will completely remove the wart in one session. Laser therapy to vaporize the wart may also be an option.

For painful warts or any other problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles it is important to see a foot specialist to receive the correct care. Bruce B. Zappan, D.P.M., P.C., of Medical Arts Podiatry Associates in Philadelphia, is an expert in proper evaluation and recommendations for treatment. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or make an appointment with our office at 215-563-2560.