Verrucae are 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. There are various forms of HPV which all relate to various parts of the human body.
What causes the problem?
The virus is thought to thrive in moist, damp environments such as swimming pools, changing room floors and communal shower areas. It is possible to contract verrucae simply by walking across the same floor area as someone with a verruca, especially if you have any small or invisible cuts or abrasions that make it easier for the virus to penetrate.
Is it serious?
Verrucae are harmless but can be uncomfortable and painful if they develop on a weight bearing part of the foot. In addition, callus can form over the top of the verruca increasing the discomfort in this area. There are also some strains of the virus that spread very quickly and can look unsightly.
Who gets it?
Verrucae are most commonly seen in children, teenagers and young adults, largely those who use communal changing rooms. It is possible to develop an immunity against the virus over time but most people remain susceptible, although some more than others.
How do I know I have it?
The most common appearance is that of a small cauliflower type growth on the soles of your feet with tiny black dots. If when you pinch the area (like when you squeeze a spot) it is painful, you are likely to have a verruca. They can grow to half an inch in diameter and may spread into a cluster of small warts. If you are unsure, seek advice from your local pharmacist or visit a podiatrist.
How do I prevent it?
To avoid catching verrucae, keep your feel in a regular healthy condition. Always dry them thoroughly after washing and if your feet are sweaty, treat them with surgical spirit; if they are dry, moisturise them with suitable creams and lotions.
Other tips include wearing flip-flops in communal areas, not sharing towels, shoes and socks, and treating conditions such as Athlete’s Foot with specialist treatment from a pharmacist.
If you do have a verruca and want to go swimming, special verrucae socks should be worn to avoid passing on the virus and can also be worn generally as a preventative measure
What are the treatments?
In the first instance, avoid touching or scratching it as it may spread into a cluster of warts. Instead, cover it up with a plaster and this may cure it. In many cases, evidence suggests that verrucae will disappear of their own accord within six months for children but longer for adults (up to two years). This is because the body’s immune system recognises the presence of the virus and fights the infection naturally but it can take many months for this to happen. Therefore if it is painless, no treatment is required as some treatments can be painful, they an be difficult to administer to children as well as cause side-effects.
For painful, unsightly verrucae, however, or ones which are spreading, you can also self-treat using ointments, gels and medicated plasters from your local pharmacist following the instructions carefully. Evidence suggests the most effective ones contain salicylic acid which when applied to the wart, helps to disintegrate the viral cells. Sometimes, merely by rubbing away the dry skin over verrucae and applying a plaster helps to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight the infection. However, if your verruca becomes unusually painful or the surrounding skin area goes red, stop treatment immediately and see a podiatrist. This is because if the healthy tissue around a verruca is damaged, you could hamper further treatment
Treatments provided by a podiatrist involve an assessment of your general well-being and foot health before deciding on a treatment plan. These may include:
- Acid based treatments which are stronger than regular ‘over the counter’ (OTC) treatments from your local pharmacy
- Cryotherapy which involves freezing the verruca with liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide gas.
- Electrosurgery which requires a local anaesthetic to be given
- Excisional surgery which is similar to the above
- Laser surgery, particularly for larger areas of verrucae
New Treatment Option: SWIFT Microwave Verruca Treatment
The state-of-the-art revolutionary microwave therapy to treat verrucas is Swift. Swift is a cutting-edge modern piece of technology. It doesn’t use any needles, injections or creams and is fast and easy to use. We have over 20 years of know-how in treating verrucas in Birmingham.
Swift is pioneering technology that was established in the UK. It has been permitted for use in Dermatology and Podiatry for the treatment of skin lesions. It is a device that is handheld and uses microwave energy to abolish verrucas.
During the course of the Swift treatment a patient may feel minor discomfort but normally patients experience a small prickly sensation for around a couple of seconds that quickly reduces. The podiatrist might have to reduce the lesion with a blade before going ahead with the treatment. After the treatment, patients may feel some sensitivity but this shouldn’t affect continuing with normal daily activities.
The number of treatments you will need will be determined by how many verrucas you have, the location of the verrucas, how long you have had them and how you respond to the treatment. A podiatrist will discuss what will happen during the treatment and how many treatments you could need. Some patients need a second treatment or more which can take place after 2 weeks or a month apart. Every patient is unique and it depends on how you respond to the treatment.
We have a internationally acclaimed podiatry clinic based in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Many patients from the UAE come for specific advanced treatment option for Verrucas.
If you would like to book an appointment or if you have any queries please get in touch and we will only be too pleased to help. You can contact us by:
Telephone: +44121 285 1367