Understanding Verrucas: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment - Paul Miller Podiatry
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Understanding Verrucas: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Verrucas removal strood

Understanding Verrucas: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Verrucas, also known as plantar warts, are small, rough growths that appear on the soles of the feet. While often harmless, verrucas can be unsightly and uncomfortable. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for verrucas to help you better understand and manage this common foot condition.

If you are suffering from a Verruca and you can’t get rid of it, get in touch with Paul Miller Podiatry. Paul Miller has been part of the local communities since the 1990’s and as one of the few HCPC State Registered practices in both Medway and Sidcup. He has a large number of trusted customers for years, get in touch today! 

What are Verrucas?

Verrucas are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which infects the outer layer of the skin. They typically appear as small, grainy growths with black dots in the center, which are tiny blood vessels. Verrucas can develop singly or in clusters and are most commonly found on the weight-bearing areas of the foot, such as the heel or ball of the foot. You can find out more information on Verrucas from the Bupa website, they have lots of very useful information, read more here. 

Causes of Verrucas:

  1. Direct Contact: Verrucas are highly contagious and can spread through direct contact with the virus. Walking barefoot in public places like swimming pools, locker rooms, and gym showers increases the risk of exposure to the virus.
  2. Weakened Immune System: Individuals with a weakened immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing immunosuppressive therapy, are more susceptible to developing verrucas.
  3. Skin Trauma: Microscopic cuts or breaks in the skin can provide an entry point for the HPV virus, increasing the likelihood of verruca formation.

Symptoms of Verrucas:

  • Small, rough growths on the soles of the feet
  • Black dots or specks in the center of the verruca
  • Pain or tenderness when walking or standing, especially if the verruca is located on a weight-bearing area

Treatment Options:

  1. Over-the-Counter Remedies: Topical treatments containing salicylic acid can help dissolve verrucas over time. These treatments typically come in the form of plasters, gels, or solutions that are applied directly to the verruca.
  2. Cryotherapy: Your doctor may recommend cryotherapy, which involves freezing the verruca with liquid nitrogen to destroy the affected tissue. This treatment may require multiple sessions for complete resolution.
  3. Surgical Removal: In severe cases or when other treatments have been unsuccessful, surgical removal of the verruca may be necessary. This procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and involves cutting out the verruca.
  4. Immunotherapy: For persistent verrucas, your doctor may recommend immunotherapy, which involves stimulating the immune system to target and destroy the virus.

You can find more information about how to remove and treat verrucas from the Lloyds Pharmacy website here. 

Home Remedies for Verrucas:

While many verrucas will resolve on their own over time, there are several home remedies you can try to help speed up the healing process and alleviate discomfort:

  1. Salicylic Acid Treatment: Over-the-counter treatments containing salicylic acid are available in various forms, including gels, liquids, and medicated pads. Salicylic acid works by softening the verruca and promoting its gradual removal. Follow the instructions provided with the product and apply it directly to the verruca. It may take several weeks of consistent use to see results.
  2. Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy: Some studies suggest that covering the verruca with duct tape may help stimulate the body’s immune response and promote verruca resolution. Cut a piece of duct tape slightly larger than the verruca and apply it directly to the affected area. Leave the tape in place for several days, then remove it, soak the foot in warm water, and gently file the verruca with a pumice stone or emery board. Repeat the process until the verruca resolves.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar Soaks: Soaking the affected foot in diluted apple cider vinegar may help soften the verruca and promote its removal. Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water in a basin or container and soak the foot for 20-30 minutes. Repeat the soak daily until the verruca diminishes.
  4. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil has natural antiviral and antiseptic properties that may help combat verrucas. Apply a few drops of tea tree oil directly to the verruca using a cotton swab or ball. Cover the area with a bandage and leave it on overnight. Repeat the process daily until the verruca resolves.
  5. Garlic Treatment: Garlic contains compounds with antiviral properties that may help eliminate verrucas. Crush a clove of garlic and apply the juice directly to the verruca. Cover the area with a bandage and leave it on overnight. Rinse the area with warm water in the morning. Repeat the treatment nightly until the verruca disappears.

home verruca removalImportant Considerations:

  • Patience is Key: Home remedies for verrucas may take time to show results, so be patient and consistent with your chosen treatment method.
  • Avoid Aggressive Treatment: Avoid picking or cutting at the verruca, as this can cause further irritation and increase the risk of infection.
  • Consult a Healthcare Professional: If home remedies are ineffective or if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system, consult a healthcare professional before attempting any home treatment for verrucas.

While home remedies can be effective for some individuals, it’s essential to monitor the verruca closely and seek medical attention if it fails to improve or if you experience worsening symptoms. We don’t normally recommend home remedies for foot issues as everyone is different and can it very risky, if you want proper treatment always contact a professional like Paul Miller Podiatry. 

Prevention Tips:

  1. Practice Good Foot Hygiene: Wash your feet regularly with soap and water to remove dirt, sweat, and bacteria. Keep your feet dry, especially between the toes, as moisture can create an environment conducive to verruca formation.
  2. Wear Protective Footwear: When walking in communal areas like swimming pools, gym showers, and locker rooms, wear protective footwear such as flip-flops or sandals to reduce the risk of coming into contact with the virus.
  3. Change Socks and Shoes Regularly: Moisture and sweat can accumulate in socks and shoes, creating an ideal environment for verruca-causing viruses to thrive. Change your socks and shoes regularly, especially after engaging in activities that cause excessive sweating.
  4. Avoid Sharing Personal Items: Refrain from sharing towels, socks, shoes, or other personal items with others, as this can facilitate the spread of verrucas and other contagious infections.
  5. Protect Skin from Trauma: Take precautions to prevent cuts, abrasions, and other forms of skin trauma, as these can provide entry points for the HPV virus. Wear properly fitting shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning to minimize the risk of foot injuries.
  6. Boost Your Immune System: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, managing stress, and getting enough sleep. A strong immune system can help your body fight off viral infections like verrucas more effectively.
  7. Inspect Your Feet Regularly: Check your feet regularly for any signs of verrucas or other skin abnormalities. Early detection and prompt treatment can help prevent verrucas from spreading or becoming more severe.
  8. Seek Prompt Treatment: If you notice any suspicious growths or changes on your feet, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. Early intervention can help prevent verrucas from becoming more painful or widespread.

By following these prevention tips, you can reduce your risk of developing verrucas and maintain healthy, happy feet.

Verrucas are a common foot condition caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). While often harmless, verrucas can be uncomfortable and unsightly. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for verrucas, you can take proactive steps to manage this condition and maintain healthy feet.