A verruca or Plantar wart is a common fairly complaint and are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) which usually lives in the outer layer of skin and tunnels into the dermis during trauma or infection.
Verruca’s present as hard, grainy growths usually on the heels or balls of your feet. The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis) producing the rough, hard texture. Verruca’s appear as areas of flat, thicker skin with a harder edge around a softer centre. On closer examination, small black spots can usually be seen in the verruca. This black spots are usually very small capillaries that have burst due to the infection and have caused a tiny bleed spot.
Verruca’s aren’t considered to be very contagious, but they can be caught by close skin-to-skin contact. They can be very unsightly causing embarrassment and if untreated they can multiply or penetrate further into the dermis, causing discomfort and pain.
Discuss treatment options with your local foot health practitioner as single treatment is rarely effective, and treatment program is often more appropriate. Common treatments involve debriding the dead skin covering the wart, then adding a penetrating acid to prevent the virus from breathing or covering the wart with a medicated tape such as Zinc oxide, but treatment is slow and requires compliance and consistency over a period of months.
Other options such as needling and freezing are available, but these are often painful and as not available on the NHS, can be costly.
Below are some self-help options to help prevent or protect against the virus.
wash your hands after touching a wart or verruca
change your socks daily if you have a verruca
cover warts and verrucae with a plaster when swimming
take care not to cut a wart when shaving.
Don't do not share towels, flannels, socks or shoes if you have a wart or verruca
do not bite your nails or suck fingers with warts on.
do not walk barefoot in public places if you have a verruca
do not scratch or pick a wart.