Verruca – plantar warts that commonly occur on the soles of the feet or around the toe area. They are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is highly contagious through direct person to person contact. The most common appearance is that of a small cauliflower type growth on the soles of your feet with tiny black dots. They can grow in groups or on their own. The virus is thought to thrive in moist, damp environments such as swimming pools, changing room floors and communal shower areas.
Verrucae are harmless but can be uncomfortable and painful if they develop on a weight bearing part of the foot. The callus (hard skin) that form over the top of the verruca are usually the cause of discomfort. Young children commonly get verrucae and they often resolve and disappear in 12-18 months without treatment.
To avoid catching verrucae, keep your feel in a healthy, hygienic condition. Always dry them thoroughly with clean towels. Do not share towels, shoes or socks with others as this may spread them to others. Wearing flip-flops or sandals in communal showers or swimming baths may help. Avoid touching or scratching the verruca as they may cause it spread into a cluster of warts.
If you do have a verruca and want to go swimming, special verrucae socks should be worn to avoid passing on the virus.
Unfortunately, as a verruca is a virus the body’s immune system is the only thing that will effectively get rid of the infection. Any treatment options are attempting to get the immune system to recognise the verruca and fight the infection. Treatments from duct tape, vinegars or banana skins have been attempted with varying levels of success. In most cases if the verruca is painless, no treatment may be suitable and waiting for body to resolve it itself.
At David Brown Podiatry we can treat your verruca a number of ways such as:
- Needling- a local anaesthetic is applied and the verruca is punctured multiple times to create an immune response and fight off the verruca. A recent study produced almost 70% success rate with this treatment which is significantly higher than most other treatments.
- Cryotherapy (freezing the area)
- Silver nitrate or other acid treatments
- Debriding the verruca to cause a small bleed (usually painless) in order to encourage the immune system to respond
For painful, unsightly verrucae, however, or ones which are spreading beginning a course of treatments is recommended.
Your pharmacist or GP may give you some gels containing acids to help fight the infection. It is important that the healthy skin surrounding the verruca is covered in order to reduce damage to this skin.
Additionally, if you have diabetes, poor circulation, are pregnant or any other condition affecting your feet (or your immune system), it is important to ensure that anyone that treats your feet are fully qualified, insured and registered with the HCPC.
Contact us if you have any questions about our treatment options.