A verruca is a wart found on the foot, they are small rough lumps that appear on the skin of the feet, and are the same as warts found on any part of the body. They can appear on one or both feet, they can be singular, or they can cover larger areas of skin.
Verrucae are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) infection; verrucae are more common amongst children, sports people and users of communal bathing facilities, where the skin is more vulnerable to picking up the viral infection. They are not considered to be majorly contagious, although they can spread from skin to skin contact and indirectly via cross contamination. They are spread through direct skin to skin contact but also can be spread indirectly through socks, towels etc. They can be spread on the body through picking and scratching them. The chances of contracting a verruca are increased when the skin is damaged or scratched, particularly when it is wet as then it is more vulnerable to damage, this is why there is a strong correlation through contracting verruca at swimming pools and communal bathing facilities.
Verrucae are usually harmless and painless, although they may cause discomfort if on a weight bearing area of the foot. They may appear as roughened hardened areas of skin anywhere on the feet. If on a weight bearing area they tend to be flat due to the pressure when walking, or they may be raised if on a non weight-bearing area such as the top of the toes. Sometimes they have pin-prick darkened areas within the verruca that sometimes bleed when the overlying hard skin is reduced.
If you have a verruca, do not pick or scratch it as this can lead to spreading. Do not share towels, socks or footwear with anyone else. If visiting a communal bathing facility or swimming pool be sure to wear something on your feet, and cover the verruca with a waterproof plaster or skin-safe tape to prevent spreading to others. If a verruca is painful, long-standing (+3 years) or spreading, visit a qualified professional to discuss the treatment options available.
Verruca often clear up on their own without treatment, research has shown verruca resolve without intervention in adult within two years, therefore treatment is not always indicated. Hard skin that may develop over a verruca can be removed painlessly with a scalpel blade to relieve discomfort by a podiatrist. There are different treatment options available; such as freezing or chemical application to help clear the verruca.
Following an assessment with a podiatrist, you will be offered the most suitable treatment method for clearing verrucae, and further advice will be given regarding prevention of them reoccurring.
Download our Verruca Treatment information pack
Download our Verruca Needling information pack
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