Verrucae (Foot Wart)
A verruca is basically a wart on the foot. It is caused by a virus known as the human papilloma virus. The human papilloma virus is the most common cause of viral skin infections.
Incidence / Age
Verrucae may infect the skin of the foot at any age. However children of school age are more commonly affected than adults. It is believed that verrucae are commonly spread in communal changing rooms and swimming pools. Compromised immunity also makes certain people more prone to vial skin infections.
Symptoms / Signs
Verrucae may or may not be painful. Verrucae appear in a number of forms, however the classic appearance is that of a single isolated lesion with defined margins and small black dots within the central core. There may be surrounding callus. Verrucae penetrate more deeply and are less raised when present on a weight-bearing surface. Verrucae are usually more painful when squeezed, in comparison to the application of direct pressure.
On none weight-bearing surfaces verrucae appear more like a wart anywhere else, being raised. Some types of verrucae cause a more superficial infection of the skin that can cover larger areas of the foot.
Treatment of verrucae is only required when painful or rapidly spreading. Regression, with or without treatment, usually occurs within the first 18 months from infection.
Only consider treatment if the verrucae is painful. For healthy individuals the best course of action is to visit a Chemist and speak to the Pharmacist. They will advice you as to the most suitable ointment or gel available for the treatment of verrucae. It is also usually necessary to reduce the verrucae with an emery board during treatment. Never use anything sharp to reduce the verrucae.
For those using communal swimming pools it is considerate to cover the affected foot with a verrucae sock, to help reduce the risk of the infection spreading to others.
Clinical and surgical treatments
On consulting a State Registered Podiatrist / Chiropodist you will be advised as to the most appropriate treatment lines suitable for you. There are many different verrucae treatments available. Unfortunately there is no one definitive treatment for all types of verrucae. Most treatments aim to destroy the infected tissue and / or bring about an immune response. The most common treatments available fall under the heading of, topical chemical agents (e.g. acids of varying strengths), thermal agents (e.g. freezing the verrucae) and surgical procedures (e.g. excision of the verrucae under anaesthetic).
Outcome / Prognosis
Most verrucae will resolve without treatment. If the verrucae are painful or spreading treatment may be necessary. Effective home treatments are available from a Pharmacist. Long standing verrucae can be very resistant to the more conservative treatments. Verrucae are rarely a cause for concern.