Verrucas, sometimes called plantar warts or spelled verrucae, are warts that develop on plantar surfaces — that is, the soles of the feet. They are caused by the human papiloma virus (HPV), which invades the skin through tiny cuts or scrapes.
The warts tend to be forced into the skin, from the pressure of normal standing and walking. This can make the warts very painful. Like all warts, they may go away even without treatment, and are harmless but in many cases they are too painful to ignore.
Verrucas are contagious and are commonly spread from the surface of floors in public swimming pools, communal showers, or even your shower at home. It thrives in warm, moist environments.
The length of time it takes a verruca to disappear will vary from person to person. Because verrucae usually often disappear in time (fought off by your immune system), the general policy in the UK is to only treat them when they are causing pain. Verrucae generally resolve spontaneously within six months in children. But in adults, they can persist for years.
How we can treat you
There are a number of treatment options available – though no one particular treatment can guarantee a cure.
- One of the most effective treatments we offer use salicylic acid. This acid is applied to the wart to disintegrate the viral cells and has a cure rate of 75%. It may need to be applied at weekly intervals over a set period of time.
- We also administer Cryotherapy – Using liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide gas we freeze the skin cells of the verrucca thereby killing it. This needs to be done every 2 or 3 weeks for a few months before the verruca is fully removed.
- We have introduced the technique, Electrosurgery with good results- After a local anaesthetic, the verruca is pared down. An electric needle is then placed in the middle of the wart for a few seconds until the wart boils – the verruca is then scooped out.
- Excisional surgery – Similar to above, but using a scalpel.
- We will also give you advise on how to minimise your chances of catching a verruca.
Please book an appointment with us if your verruca bleeds, changes in appearance, spreads or causes you significant pain, distress or embarrassment. Do not self-treat if you have diabetes or circulation problems.