A Guide to Verrucas
What is a Verruca?
Verruca is a wart on your foot. Verrucae (one verruca, two verrucae) is a type of wart that grows specifically on feet. Verrucae are surprisingly common, mostly harmless and many do not even know they have them. There might be just one, singular verruca or there might be a cluster covering a greater area.
Verrucae are a result of a viral infection (yes, another virus!). It is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are well over one hundred types of HPV. Particularly HPV 1, 2, and 4 subtypes could potentially lead to verrucae developing on your feet.
How can you tell the difference between a verruca and a corn?
Some of the verrucae have the “black dots” and some do not, therefore some of them can be mistaken for corns and allowed to grow. Verrucae normally push apart the papillary lines on the foot and corns do not.
Usually, a verruca is painful when you pinch it but not when pressing it and a corn is painful when it is pressed but not when pinched.
What are the causes of a verruca?
Verrucas are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are many myths surrounding how we get them, the most common one is the “swimming pool. This is partially true, but it’s not the pool that is necessary to blame.
The cross-infection from one person to another will happen by bare feet being exposed to surfaces walked on previously by an infected person. So, public changing rooms where you walk barefooted shared yoga mats… and yes, you can catch it by direct contact.
As everybody’s immune system is different, some of us will develop verrucae and others will not.
How can I prevent getting a verruca?
Verrucas are common and nothing to be ashamed of. Most people will develop at least one during their lives. There are few simple measures you can take to reduce the risk of infection:
• Try not to walk barefoot in places where other people can spread their warts to others. These are the communal areas such as: swimming pool surrounds, changing rooms, communal showers, dance studios, shared yoga mats, saunas, to name just a few.
• Try not to touch warts, yours and others. If you have to touch them wash your hands carefully with warm soapy water. Do not share footwear with others and try not to try shoes in shops without any socks on.
What are the treatment options for verrucas?
Evidence has shown that, in many cases, verrucae will go away after a while. If you would like to “wait out” a plantar wart, you can certainly do so. The catch, though, is that this can take up to a couple of years. At the Farnham Foot Clinic, we will be able to accurately diagnose your verruca and discuss treatment options available to you, both home and clinic-based.
What over-the-counter remedies are available?
With over-the-counter remedies, evidence shows that the ones based on salicylic acid are the most effective. However, never self-treat them if you have diabetes, have poor circulation, or suffer from diminished sensation in your feet. Bear in mind that over-the-counter remedies only work about half of the time (if even that often) and provide the risk of damaging healthy skin around the wart.
We can’t stress enough, never attempt “home surgery” on your wart. In doing so, you put yourself at an unnecessary risk for infection. Always seek advice from a podiatrist.
What are the costs of treatment?
Does treatment differ for a child?
Our experienced podiatrists can modify most treatments to make them suitable and comfortable for a child.
Will verruca go away by itself?
Normally our clients request treatment because they find their verruca either unsightly, uncomfortable, or both. Verruca can itch, hurt, cause rubbing, spread to other parts of the foot. Therefore like with any lesion on your foot, it will either become sore to walk on or there is a chance that it will force you to avoid the sore area, alter your gait and cause you aches or pain in another part of your foot or leg.