What is a verruca?
Verrucae are also known as plantar verruca and plantar warts. The virus that causes them is called the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and has 46 distinct types. Each a slightly different type of wart. They are abnormal tissue growths that are confined to the outer layer of the skin. They are found mostly in the younger population but can occur at any age.
They do not always have to have visible black spot, but some do, and they are not always painful.
Some warts may have spontaneous resolution whilst others may be very resistant to treatment or last a life time.
Are they contagious?
The virus is contagious and is often transmitted in public areas such as changing rooms and swimming pool areas. The verruca virus enters the skin in areas of trauma, cuts, grazes and wounds.
How can I prevent catching a verruca?
- Never use anyone else’s towel or shoes
- If you have any broken skin on your feet, always keep it covered with a waterproof plaster. This will keep it clean and help prevent many infections
- Always keep your feet covered; flip flops, pool shoes, socks, when in a communal area such as changing rooms, pools and showers
What are the types of treatments?
As the source of the problem is a virus, it is your own immune system which will fight it off. The majority of treatments are designed to cause trauma to the area that is infected. This will cause your immune system to target the area.
Verruca treatments that fall in to this category are mild chemical burns using salicylic acid, freezing using cryotherapy or heat with a laser treatment.
Other treatments are available by a podiatrist and over the counter products are also easy to come by. People with diabetes or patients with a poor circulation should not use these products. Many treatments can be a very slow and frustrating process.
- Keep the wound covered at all times as it will prevent the wart from growing rapidly and spreading to other areas
- You can also remove the surrounding callus with a disposable emery board. Do not use the file for any other areas and dispose of it straight after use
- Seek advice from a Podiatrist for any advice or questions you may have
What we do
At Family Feet Solutions after examination and diagnosis, we have two treatment options:
- Salicylic acid. We manually remove as much of the verruca tissue and surrounding callus as possible and then use salicylic acid. This will be covered with a dressing and you will return in one week to check on the progress. This will be repeated until the verruca’s have gone. The length of time this takes varies greatly from each individual.
- Needling. Needling is a minor surgical treatment performed under local anaesthetic. This treatment is for long standing problematic verrucae. The treatment involves the use of a fine needle to puncture the verruca lesion. The goal is to reach a deeper layer of skin, the dermis, stimulating an immune response and destruction of the virus.
- Lacuna method. The Lacuna method involves the podiatrist drilling several rows of tiny holes through the nail plate to the nail bed – the number of holes depends on the size of the nail being treated and the extent of the infection. An anti-fungal spray, which is provided as part of the treatment, is applied over the nail and passes through the nail. The spray is then applied daily at home, until the infection is clear. The treatment can take 6 months or more due to the slow rate of toe nail growth. It is advised to see the podiatrist at 6 weekly intervals for consistent treatments.
For more information visit the College of Podiatry.