There are many ways to treat periungual warts. In some cases, they will disappear on their own, but if the growth is painful, unsightly or spreading, there are a few options for removal. It's possible to begin treating the wart by applying salicylic acid or one of several over-the-counter wart removers. Nonprescription liquids or gels come with specific directions to effectively diagnose and remove any questionable growths. While wart removers have harsh chemicals that might zap a wart at the root, keeping fingers and toes cool, clean and covered with the medicine can be a challenge.
Common household items can also be part of a do-it-yourself plan for tricky treatment areas. Suffocate the wart with electrical tape or similar strong adhesive tape [source: WebMD]. Select a tape that doesn't breathe (or isn't made of cloth). Apply the tape to the wart for six days, taking one day off each week. The tape should be replaced daily.
If the problem persists, seek a doctor's help. Cryotherapy, injections or burning processes -- which involve carbon dioxide lasers or electric needles -- are options that attack the infected area and encourage the growth to die and fall off. A possible downside is scarring; the skin around the wart is also damaged during the burning or freezing process [source: American Osteopathic College of Dermatology].
Surgical procedures to remove the wart completely have minor side effects, but this is a last-resort method for recurring warts or abnormally large growths that don't respond to other treatments. A doctor may also prescribe an immunotherapy cream, which is typically used to combat genital warts because the medication is supposed to increase the body's natural ability to reject the virus [source: Taylor MicroTechnology, Inc.].
Not all periungual warts respond the same to treatment, and multiple applications of a product -- or many visits to a dermatologist -- may be required to finally remove the abnormal skin growth. For more information on periungual warts, follow the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Nail Fungus & Nail Health." 2008. (Accessed 8/4/09) http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/common_nail.html
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "Warts." 2009. (Accessed 8/4/09) http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/warts.html
- Associated Press. "Adult Acne: Blame Recession for Breakouts." 3/11/09. (Accessed 8/5/09) http://www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2009/03/11/economyacne0311.html
- Mayo Clinic. "Common Warts." 2/16/08. (Accessed 8/4/09) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/common-warts/DS00370
- MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. "Warts." 10/28/08. (Accessed 8/3/09) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000885.htm
- Stulberg, Daniel L. and Anne Galbraith Hutchinson. "Molluscum Contagiosum and Warts." American Family Physician, vol. 67, no. 6. 3/15/03.http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030315/1233.html
- Taylor MicroTechnology, Inc. "Warts." 4/27/04. (Accessed 8/4/09) http://www.masterdocs.com/fact_sheet_files/pdf/warts.pdf
- WebMD. "Warts and Plantar Warts-Topic Overview." 9/11/08. (Accessed 8/3/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/warts-and-plantar-warts-topic-overview