Verrucae / Warts

Verrucae is the name given to a wart which grows on the feet. It is caused by the same virus that causes warts on other parts of the body (the papiloma virus). It is a contagious virus which readily thrives in wet or damp conditions. It is transferred by direct contact, and as such is most commonly transferred in places such as swimming baths, communal shower rooms, and bathing areas, where walking bare foot over an infected area already stepped on by an existing carrier passes on the virus. Cuts on the feet seem to increase your chances of picking up the virus. A sensible precaution, therefore, is to avoid walking bare foot in such areas, and items such as flip-flops or commercial verrucae socks will greatly reduce the chance of you getting the virus, or if you already have it, from passing it onto someone else.

The first visible symptoms are a pinkish area with tiny black dots. These mostly appear on the soles of the feet, though they may also be found in and around the toes. If untreated, the area may grow and turn darker in colour, more towards brown. At this stage, the surface may also be come crumbly. They may appear alone or in groups. Often, they do not cause any pain with normal walking, but may be painful if pinched between the fingers (wear surgical gloves, or similar!).

On discovering a verrucae, you should immediately cover the area with a plaster. This should be changed daily, when the condition of the verrucae should also be checked. This treatment alone might be enough to cure the condition, and the verrucae may disappear in time. However, if it continues to grow or becomes even the slightest bit painful, you should seek advice from your chiropodist, who will be able to provide the correct course of treatment. There are commercially available treatments which do work, but I would still advise consulting your chiropodist who will advise you on how to properly administer such treatments without the danger of causing harm to surrounding tissue.

If you are pregnant, a diabetic, taking steriods or taking any other long-term medication, always consult your chiropodist before starting any self treatment for verrucae.