Verruca or Plantar Warts
What Are Verrucae?
Verruca or plantar warts, are benign neoplasms confined to the outer layer of the skin. Although they are found mostly in the younger population, they can occur at any age. The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the cause of warts and has 46 distinct types, each resulting in a slightly different type of wart. Some warts may undergo spontaneous resolution, while others may last a lifetime and are very resistant to treatment.
Are they contagious?
The virus is contagious and is often transmitted in areas of public use, such as locker rooms and swimming pool areas. It enters the skin in areas of mechanical abrasion or trauma.
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. However, the majority of treatments are designed to cause trauma to the area infected, which causes your immune system to target the area. Treatments fall into the following areas: mild chemical burns (salicylic acid, Silver Nitrate), freezing, heat (laser treatment), Swift, needling which is sometimes called Falknor Needling, or complementary therapies.
Here at Footman Podiatry, we manually remove the old dead skin and as much of the verruca as possible, then apply clinically tested topical treatments. These are much stronger and more effective than the treatments you may buy from over the counter in a pharmacy. This method helps destroy the viral protein and desiccates the wart tissue, which then falls off the skin, leaving intact skin underneath. This is normally less painful than using treatments such as salicylic acid, and needling which can be rather unpleasant.
Having a verruca treated requires an appropriate treatment strategy, which is something Footman Podiatry strongly advises. Sometimes you may only require one or two treatments, but in the case of stubborn verruca's this may take longer. Footman Podiatry can advise accordingly in these cases.
How can I prevent catching a verruca?
Always keep your feet covered when you are in a communal area (e.g. sports changing room or swimming baths changing area / showers.
If you have any broken skin on your feet, always keep it covered with a waterproof elastoplast. This will keep it clean and help prevent many infections.
Never use anyone else's shoes or towels.
I think I have a verruca! What should I do?
Have it examined by a registered podiatrist / chiropodist or your doctor.
Once it's been correctly diagnosed, have it treated and monitor it for any increase in size or colour.
Keep it covered at all times to prevent spreading it to other people.
Do not share your shoes or towels with anyone else.
If it becomes larger, more painful or changes colour, contact your podiatrist or doctor immediately.
Want more information? Read my blog on Verrucae.