What are Verrucae?
We often get asked “what is a verruca and how should I treat it?”
Check if you have a verruca. It is important to be sure.
Although they can appear similar, verrucae are different to corns and require special treatment.
If you are unsure, always ask your podiatrist to check.Verrucae appear on your feet. They have tiny black dots under the hard skin.
Verrucae are more likely to be painful – like standing on a needle.
Verrucae are very common in children and teenagers – around one in three will get them. They’re actually warts on the feet, caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) but they don’t look like normal warts because they are pressed in.
HPV can occur in those with a weakened or immature immune system and often cause skin afflictions like warts by stimulating an overproduction of the tough protein keratin. In an episode of verrucae, the keratinocytes in your feet produce too much keratin, forcing the protein to form a hard, rough lump on the surface of the skin.
Children tend to catch verrucae more easily because their immune systems are not fully developed, and they’re more likely to have cuts and scratches on their skin where the virus can get in. Teenagers who play contact sports can also be particularly prone. Although they are usually harmless, verrucae can be painful, embarrassing and difficult to get rid of.
Verrucae can also affect adults. If you’re someone who enjoys keeping active by swimming or visiting your local gym, then you are frequenting an environment with the ideal conditions for the HPV virus. Research has uncovered that the HPV virus can live on inanimate objects, like the surface of a floor or a towel. The changing rooms in most gyms and swimming pools are damp, humid places, allowing the disease to spread
What treatments do Revive recommend?
The first comment to make is that every person who has a verruca will want to see it disappear as soon as possible. This is completely understandable, however everybody’s recovery system is different.
At Revive we encourage a staged treatment process:
There are a number of topical creams available on the market. However, our experience shows that a combination of debridement, application of salicylic acid and, where necessary, cryotherapy over the period of the treatment achieves the best results.
Adults for whom the above methods have not solved the problem, we offer needling. Needling is most commonly used as a treatment for verrucae when other forms of treatment have failed. Needling works by causing what is known as a cell-mediated immune response at the affected area. Verrucae are formed as a result of the HPV which infects the epidermis of the skin and therefore does not stimulate a systemic response from the body. Needling treatment pushes the viral cells into the dermal layer of the skin, triggering an immune response which targets the verrucae directly. The antibodies produced as a result mean the lesions then begin to deteriorate and regress before eventually disappearing. Needling is undertaken under local anaesthetic.
The good news is that there are very effective treatments available for you and your children. We cannot guarantee an exact time scale – it could be very quick or it could take longer.
A recent patient wrote this testimonial and it really sums up the treatment process:
“I turned up at Revive Footcare with a stubborn verruca that had resisted all the recommended treatments for months. From the outset Mark the podiatrist explained the treatment, a process not a magic potion. With each visit he worked skilfully and professionally and with each visit there was a noticeable improvement. I know without Mark’s care I’dstill be hobbling. Big thank you. You were brilliant!”
If you have a verruca – don’t put it off – get in touch and come and see us.
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