A verruca is a wart on the foot, and like warts affecting other areas of the body it is caused by the skin becoming infected with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are hundreds of different types of HPV and several can cause Verrucae/Wart infections.
Infection occurs via direct contact with the virus mainly as a result of walking barefoot on contaminated floor surfaces such as communal showers, saunas, hotel bathrooms, swimming baths, gymnasia, etc. Although verrucae can infect any area of the foot it is these areas of the skin that make contact with the ground (weight bearing areas), that are therefore more vulnerable.
Areas of broken skin such as cuts, graze, open blisters, and cracks (often present with eczema / dermatitis / psoriasis / athletes foot) are particularly vulnerable to verrucae infection. If the skin is healthy and intact then risk of infection is minimal, wearing ‘flip flops’ in communal areas would reduce the risk of infection.
Initially the verruca will be small and go un-noticed. Eventually you may become aware of a small area of thickened skin developing. At this stage the verruca will be painless and if ignored may not necessarily increase in size. If the verrucae does increase in size to the point at which it becomes symptomatic (eg painful to walk on) then treatment can be considered.
We would advise patients that if verrucae are asymptomatic (do not cause discomfort), and if the verrucae have not proliferated dramatically, then patients should ignore them.
Providing a patient is not immuno-compromised then verrucae will eventually clear without treatment. This form of spontaneous cell mediated immunity occurs faster in young children than in adults. Approximately 60% of children’s warts & verrucae clear spontaneously within 2 years. For this reason we would urge parents of particularly young children to ignore verrucae unless they become symptomatic. This advice is now widely accepted within Dermatology and Podiatric Medicine as standard.
The most common cause of verrucae increasing in size and proliferating is un-necessary self treatment using over the counter caustics/acids particularly in combination with regular debridement with a pumice/files. The vast majority of patients who use these treatments will only succeed in making their verrucae worse!
There is a huge assortment of ‘weird and wonderful’ suggestions, potions, and treatments that are often mentioned by patients with regard to verruca treatments. Unfortunately there is no ‘magic bullet’ as no treatment can offer a simple, quick, and painless cure.
However, we are able to offer our patients the very best and most efficacious treatments (both surgical & non surgical) that are available, undertaken by a Podiatrist with a reputation for excellence in this field.
Mark Hollinshead has been running wart & verrucae clinics in our Practice since 1989. During which time he has treated tens of thousands of verrucae & hand warts. Mark is able to offer his patients a wealth of experience and proficiency that is second to none. Mark particularly enjoys treating verrucae that have resisted the efforts of other practitioners.
Just make a standard consultation appointment with Mark and he will advise you on the most appropriate treatment regime for your particular verruca(ae). There are several different treatment options we are able to offer: