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Verrucae

Verrucae are warts that can be found anywhere on the foot but commonly occur on the soles of the feet. They can even be found around the edges of nails.

They are harmless but in some circumstances they develop on a weight bearing area of the foot where they are likely to be painful. Some strains of verrucae spread very quickly and can become unsightly.

How do I know I have a verruca?
The classic appearance is cauliflower like, sometimes containing small black dots. They can vary in size and numbers. Sometimes a verruca can quickly spread into a cluster made up of many tiny verrucae.

A simple diagnostic test is to pinch the skin (like you would squeeze a spot) where you think you may have a verruca. If it hurts, you may have a verruca. Corns tend not to hurt if you pinch them, but hurt if you press them. Pressing a verruca is generally painless.

How do I treat my verruca?
Evidence has shown that, in many cases, the body’s defence mechanism, the immune system, will recognise the virus and fight the infection. Due to the nature of the virus, this may take many months to happen. Letting nature heal the verruca is the best and safest course of action. For painful, unsightly verrucae, or ones which are spreading, you may choose to self treat or seek professional help from a podiatrist.

Never self treat if you have diabetes, poor circulation, are pregnant or have any other conditions affecting the health of your feet. If you have diabetes, check with a podiatrist or your pharmacist before self treating.

What happens if I decide to seek treatment?
The podiatrist will carry out an assessment of your general health as well as your foot health before deciding on a treatment plan.

Acid based treatments:
This involves ointments or liquids containing acids, which are usually stronger than over the counter preparations, being applied to the verruca. These acids act by carefully and gently destroying the very surface of the skin that the virus has infected. The podiatrist will apply the treatment to the skin at two weekly intervals after removing the overlying skin the treatment has destroyed. Immediately after treatment the affected foot needs to be kept dry for three to five days.

After leaving the clinic, the treated verruca may become sore as the acid begins to work. Most people experience either no pain or some discomfort. This usually wears off after a day or two and it is advised that you persevere with the treatment. But if the acid produces an inflammatory reaction and the affected area begins to throb, then you are advised to remove the dressing and soak the foot in warm salt water for 5 minutes to prevent the treatment from working any further. Contact the clinic if the verruca becomes very painful, and we will advise you or ask you to come in for a check-up.

Cryotherapy
This involves freezing the verruca with liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide gas. This needs to be done at approximately three weekly intervals before the verruca is fully healed.

However, it can lead to soreness and blistering in some people. You can still swim after this treatment, but it’s not advised for sensitive or anxious children.

Electrosurgery and excisional Surgery
Electrosurgery involves the use of a local anaesthetic and destroys the the tissue using heat. Excisional surgery uses a scalpel to remove the affected tissue. We don’t do this at Footzone but will refer on if we feel this is an appropriate line of treatment.