Verrucae/Warts

 











© Head & Short Podiatrists Ltd. - Registered in England

Company Registration No. 6741445 VAT Registration No. 975 7625 65

Information Commissioners Office Registration No. Z1813089

All verrucae patients are initially seen for a 30 minute assessment appointment.


During the consultation we will take your medical history, in addition to the physical assessment. It helps us greatly if you complete a medical history form and bring it with you, (copies can be downloaded here). We record details including your: name, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, GP name and address, past and current medical history, allergies, medication, and any previous Podiatry treatment.


This is known as your minimum data set and recording it is a legal requirement. We keep all the information you give us confidentially, in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, the Health Professions Council, and the Data Protection Act (we are registered data users registered with the Information Commission).

















In most cases treatment will be started at your first appointment, and you will require follow up appointments.


What are verrucae?


One of the most common foot problems amongst children and young adults are verrucae, otherwise known as warts. Although they can appear anywhere on the skin, the feet are particularly susceptible.










            

             single verruca                         multiple verrucae                 multiple mosaic verrucae

           


What causes verrucae?


Verrucae pedis is the most common viral infection of the skin and is caused by the Papova group of viruses. The virus tends to thrive in damp conditions and is mainly transmitted in communal areas such as swimming pools, showers, gymnasia and hotel room floors through direct contact with the skin.


The virus is contagious and gains entry to the body through micro-injuries to the skin. This can easily take place through barefoot activities, especially when the skin has been wet for some time as in swimming or due to sweating after intense exercise followed by showering.



What to look for


Verrucae are yellow, clear or white in colour with a rough crumbly surface, sometimes covered in a layer of hard skin and often with black/brown flecks in them (which are blood vessels). They vary in size from 3 to 30mm (or more) in diameter (as a cluster) and can occur anywhere on the feet and hands (where they are called warts). They grow rapidly and often begin as small speckled or shiny lesions.



How to tell if you have a verruca


Verrucae are rare in infancy and most common during school years, when communal showering and changing occurs regularly.



Are they painful?


Verrucae can sometimes be painful, especially those which are pressured from standing or walking. If the surface becomes fissured or picked the verrucae may bleed.



Will they clear up?


Verrucae have a variable outcome, some spontaneously resolve with little or no treatment in a few months through stimulation of the bodies immune system. However, in recent years the virus seems to be more resistant (as all viruses seem to be) and we commonly see adult patients who have had verrucae for 5 years or more. Verrucae on children appear to be more resilient too, and often the treatments previously used on adults are now being routinely used on children (with no detriment) as low dose treatments do not seem to work as well as they used to (including over-the-counter preparations).


Over the counter treatments do not appear to work as well as they used to due to the stronger strains of verrucae.



What you can do


To help prevent verrucae, always take sensible precautions in communal changing areas, such as not walking barefoot i.e. wear flip-flops or verrucae socks to avoid infection. As a general rule, if a verrucae appears cover it with a plaster.



Treatment


If you are sure you have a verruca you may decide to try an over the counter verruca treatment. Please use the medication exactly as described on the packaging and if the lesion has not resolved within 8 weeks make an appointment to see the Podiatrist. If you are not sure what the lesion is we recommend that you see a Podiatrist to make a firm diagnosis prior to commencing any self treatment.


If you have multiple verrucas, or the verrucae are spreading or growing rapidly we do not recommend using over the counter treatment. Please book in for assessment with a Podiatrist, who will be able to ascertain whether it is worth trying over the counter treatments or whether other treatment options are more appropriate.


Treatment options vary form chemical therapy, cryotherapy, laser therapy (not often used nowadays), electrodessication (electro-surgery), needling and dissection.