Options For Treating Periungual Warts

Periungual warts sound worse than they are, but that does not mean anyone wants them. While the development of a wart like this is not a major health concern, it is a visible concern for many individuals. These warts are common around the fingernails and toenails, which makes them markedly noticeable. It is possible to hide them with closed-toe shoes, but it is not possible to hide them on the fingers unless patients wear gloves everywhere they go. 

Since this is not an option, individuals might want to know what works to treat these warts. They are unsightly, but they can be treated. There are several options, and it is up to patients to discuss available treatment options with their doctor to come up with the best possible plan. Not all treatment methods work for everyone, so patients might need to try one or more until they're satisfied with the results.


Cryotherapy is the art of freezing warts off the fingers or toes. This is done with the use of liquid nitrogen, and it can be painful. This is not to say it will be painful for everyone, but it is for many. Some patients describe the application of liquid nitrogen as uncomfortable, but they do not necessarily feel it is painful. The difference is found in a patient's personal pain tolerance as well as how deep each wart is inside their skin. Deeper warts are more painful to remove with this treatment. 

The reason it hurts more if they are deeper is patients have to go through the process more than once. If the warts are located on the fingers, patients might find it is more beneficial to treat them this way than it is to treat warts on their toes this way. If individuals have periungual warts on the bottom of their toes, there is a greater chance they are deeper due to walking on them regularly.

Injections Of Antigens

An injection of antigens is a helpful treatment option for many of these warts. Antigens are toxins used to produce an immune response from the body. The injection is designed to help the body fight the human papillomavirus, them ain cause of all kinds of warts, with an immune response. This does not work for everyone, but it is highly effective in many patients who try this method of treatment. The response it causes when it is injected into the periungual wart can cause the body to start attacking the virus to kill it. The faster it works to kill the virus, the faster periungual warts will go away. However, the body might not provide the correct response, and it might not work forever and individuals may still develop periungual warts over the years.

Pulsed Dye Laser Therapy

Pulsed dye laser therapy is another effective way to kill this type of wart. This type of therapy, however, is not a doctor's first choice for treatment. Doctors will probably want to wait until other methods fail before they go this route. It can be painful, can take several sessions, and might fail. Pulsed dye laser therapy uses lasers with an organic dye to kill the tissue in the periungual wart so it falls off. 

However, many studies show it might be more effective to use an aminolevulinic acid rather than the organic acid used in this treatment. The organic acid may not be strong enough to elicit a response from warts, which means it might not die using this therapy. The doctor will look at the patient's periungual warts, examine their depth, and make a decision as to which type of dye is better for each case.

Application Of Salicylic Acid

The application of salicylic acid is helpful to remove periungual warts, and it is often the first type of treatment individuals try to use. Salicylic acid is available without a prescription in various degrees of strength, which means patients can do it at home. This is a preferable treatment method for some, though there is a chance it won't work. It is recommended to try this type of treatment first by purchasing an over-the-counter product and applying it. It is best done in a specific manner, though. 

Patients need to start by soaking their feet in warm to hot water. They can do this in a bucket or a foot bath, or they can take a full bath. Once their feet are nice and wrinkled, patients want to use a pumice stone to remove the outer few layers of their skin. Before going to bed, patients should apply the acid and put a pair of socks or gloves on to keep it from getting all over them. This should help, but it might take more than one night to get the desired result.

Carbon Dioxide Laser

A carbon dioxide laser is often touted as being as effective as using a very sharp knife to remove the problem. It is commonly used on patients who have tried other methods of treatment that did not work. No two individuals have the same type of warts, immune system, or response to certain types of treatment. This means patients might not find anything else works, and their doctor wants to use this type of treatment on their periungual warts. It is most effective on warts found around the fingernails and toenails, and it begins by cutting off the top of the periungual wart without hesitation. When the top is removed, the doctor will change the light and burn the rest of the wart right off. It is effective, but this is also a treatment method that might leave patients with significant scarring.