Cryotherapy involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze warts on the feet. At my FootDr, we use a pressurised canister with a spray tip or contact probe. Each wart receives three applications in each appointment, with each application lasting between 20 and 30 seconds, depending on the size of the wart. The treatment is carried out quickly, and we have a good success rate when using cryotherapy to treat warts in both children and adults.
Your Typical Cryotherapy Appointment
When you have a wart, it usually has a firmer callus exterior that covers it. Your appointment starts with your podiatrist removing this callus to expose the wart. Don’t worry – callus is dead skin, so removing the callus itself is generally painless. You may feel a little tenderness if your wart is painful, but this is short-lived.
Due to a wart’s extensive network of microvessels (blood vessels within the wart), debriding the callus may cause small pin-point bleeds. Again, this is normal and is actually a good sign for a podiatrist, as it indicates that the callus is gone and true verruca tissue has been exposed so the treatment will work directly on it.
Cryotherapy starts and each lesion is treated. The treatment itself is somehwat uncomfortable, but quite bearable. The frozen skin becomes white (cells of the tissue freezing), and will take approximately 30 seconds to thaw.
After the cryotherapy is complete, the surrounding skin may be tender for a day or so. A small blister may form as a result of the freezing and if this does happen, it is best not to pop it, but to cover the area with a band-aid or dressing. New skin quickly grows and any scab or blister will soon disappear.
A follow-up appointment will be booked after the cryotherapy to monitor the lesion. As plantar warts are caused by a virus, the lifespan of the war depends on your immune response to the treatment, to clear away the wart tissue. This may require further treatments with cryotherapy over a period of a few weeks to destroy all of the infected tissue. Compared to other treatments, most people find freezing the most effective and the least time-consuming.