Well since warts are cause by a virus (human papilloma virus, or HPV), it’s accurate enough to call them a disease. My girlfriend in college was plagued by plantar warts, and ended up having a couple of them cut and/or frozen out. I had one or two myself, which I tried dealing with using the Compound W liquid, with roughly the same success – i.e., reduction and then recurrence. Don’t know what happened with hers (we broke up) but in my case, they eventually went away.
I also had a number of occasionally painful warts on my fingers, starting in my college years. The first I noticed was on the outside of my right pinky, right where it contacts the paper or table top when writing – I mistook it for a callous caused by excessive writing for a while, until it continued to grow. A couple of years later, I developed a very large wart on my left thumb, about a half inch above the joint and a half-inch or so from the outside (imagine putting your palms down on a table and then drumming with your thumbs – the wart was right where the thumb and table make contact). I eventually developed progressively smaller warts on each of the other fingers on that hand, each at the point where they would most frequently make contact with the thumb wart during normal activities. The one on the index finger was the largest and most bothersome. The thumb and index finger warts were large and well established by the time I got married eight years ago. I tried pads, liquid, etc to get rid of them, with even less success than before. Over time, the size and sensitivity of each would fluctuate somewhat, and they seemed to have stopped getting bigger and weren’t spreading, so I just decided to live with it.
About nine months ago, I noticed one day that the smallest wart seemed to be gone, and that the others were receding. Within a month or so, they had all vanished completely, so that now there remains only a faintly visible mark on my right pinky, and a little scarring where the very large left thumb wart had been (probably a result of my attempts to dig out the wart in my younger days). I’ve experienced no recurrence of any of them since then.
It’s not surprising that you’re in pain from the Compound W – what you’re doing is essentially using a dilute form of salicylic acid to burn away the wart, but of course you’re also burning away healthy tissue around it as well.
The treatment of choice for warts these days (and I swear I’m not making this up) is duct tape. Cover the wart with a small patch of duct tape for 6 days, clean and debride the wart and surrounding area with an emery board and leave uncovered for a day, then repeat as necessary. In a clinical trial in a military hospital, this treatment regimen was significantly more effective than freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen, and resolved the warts in 85% of the cases.
NB: though not mentioned in the AAFP article, another source recommends using the emery board exclusively for debriding the wart area, pointing out that the skin particles scraped away may still contain active wart virus, and that using the emery board for other purposes might lead to infecting other areas.
Other references, in case you don’t trust the American Academy of Pediatrics: