Verrucae

These are simply warts on the foot and are caused by a very contagious viral infection (Human Papilloma Virus). They are only caught through direct contact and the common place for contamination is in warm, moist environments such as swimming pools and bathrooms.

They can occur anywhere on the foot and may appear as areas of flat, thicker skin with a harder edge and have a softer centre with black dots. They are harmless but may be sore to touch or stand or walk on.

Not all people are susceptible to the virus. When people share a bathroom that contains the verruca virus, some will catch it and other may seem immune. The reason for this is not known. They are more common in children as they have no natural immunity to it.

It may take several months for the verrucae to develop after infection. Many verrucae will disappear within 6 months but they can take years to resolve.

Treatment

It is advisable to consult a chiropodist /podiatrist to check that you do have a verruca rather than another skin lesion, before you commence treatment.

It is not essential to treat a verruca. Opting not to treat may allow the bodies defence mechanisms to develop a resistance to the infection providing long term immunity.

There are a number of treatments available to be used at home or in the chiropody / podiatry clinic (acids, freezing, electro surgery and homeopathy). The choice of treatment will depend on the person’s age, how many verrucae there are, where they are and what discomfort they cause.

It may be necessary to try more than one type of treatment before the verrucae clear up.

Prevention

  • Wear flip flops in communal showers and changing rooms
  • Wear verrucae socks for swimming or paint the verrucae with some nail varnish to seal them in to avoid spreading the infection
  • Don’t touch the verrucae and cover them with a plaster to prevent further infection.