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Verrucae (Verruca)

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What is a Verruca?

A verruca is a wart usually on the sole of your foot, caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Verrucae can be single lesions, or clusters, and they can appear at multiple places on the feet and hands at the same time. They can vary in appearance and size depending on their location. A good test to see if you have a verruca is to pinch the lesion and then push the lesion with a gloved hand. If it hurts during a pinch and not during a push, then it is likely to be a verruca. If it hurts with pushing, it may be a corn. Verrucae also commonly have small black dots in the centre of the lesion. Anyone can get them, though they are often considered more common in children.

How can I help myself?

Verrucae can be very hard to treat, especially in adults. Because they are viral, treatments cannot actually kill the virus, so instead are aimed more at causing irritation of the area to try and stimulate a response by your body which in turn will hopefully attack the virus. Most over the counter treatments either do this using acid or by “freezing” the area. It is also a perfectly acceptable treatment option to just leave the verruca alone (we often recommend this in children) and see if it just goes away with time, however there is a risk of it spreading, so keeping it covered with a plaster may be sensible. It is also possible that it may spread during self treatment, and treatment can become painful and can cause blistering and even infection if not monitored well.

When to see a Podiatrist?

With this in mind, we do advise that people see a Podiatrist to ensure it is diagnosed correctly and to either get advice on self care, or to see what treatment options a Podiatrist may offer. Podiatric treatments may involve stronger acids or more aggressive “freezing” techniques, as well as laser therapy and needling, the latter of which is a more invasive treatment performed under local anaesthetic to try and stimulate an immune response from the body at a cellular level. Not all podiatrists will offer every treatment option and there are multiple other treatment options available, so have a look on their website to see what they offer.