What exactly are verrucae?
Verrucae are plantar warts that most usually appear on the soles of the feet or around the toes. They are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted from person to person. There are several types of HPV, each of which affects a different portion of the human body.
What are the causes of verrucae?
The HPV virus is known to thrive in moist, damp surroundings such as swimming pools, locker room flooring, and public showers. It is possible to contract verrucae merely by walking across the same floor area as someone who has one, especially if you have any minor or inconspicuous scrapes or abrasions that allow the virus to enter.
Who gets them?
Verrucae are most typically found in children, teenagers, and young adults, particularly those who use public restrooms. It is possible to develop protection to the virus over time, but most people remain susceptible, albeit some are more vulnerable than others.
How do I know I've got them?
The most typical appearance is a small cauliflower-like growth on the soles of your feet, surrounded by tiny black dots. If pinching the region causes pain (like when squeezing a place), you most likely have a verruca. They can develop to be 1cm in diameter and form a cluster of tiny warts. If you are doubtful, consult a podiatrist.
Are they a real issue?
Verrucae are not dangerous, although they can be irritating and painful if they form on a weight-bearing area of the foot. Furthermore, hard skin (callus) can grow on top of the verruca, exacerbating irritation in this area.
What are the available treatments?
In the beginning, avoid touching or scratching a verruca as this may cause it to spread into a cluster of warts. Cover it with a plaster instead. Evidence suggests that verrucae will vanish on their own in many situations, within six months for youngsters but lasting longer for adults (up to two years). This is because the body's immune system detects the existence of the virus and battles the illness naturally, but this can take months. If it is not unpleasant, there may be no need for therapy, as some therapies can be harsh, especially for children, and can produce negative effects. Simply stroking the dry skin over a verruca and applying a plaster might sometimes assist to encourage the body's immune system to combat the infection. If your verruca gets unusually painful or the surrounding skin becomes red, discontinue treatment immediately and consult a podiatrist. This is because if the healthy tissue surrounding a verruca is destroyed, further treatment may be hampered.
How can I avoid them?
Maintain the health of your feet to avoid contracting verrucae. Always fully dry your feet after washing them, and if they are sweaty, treat them with surgical spirit; if they are dry, moisturise them with appropriate creams or lotions, but avoid applying between the toes.
Other suggestions include using DrLuigi medial footwear, not sharing towels, shoes, and socks, and treating illnesses like Athlete's Foot with a pharmacist-recommended specialist treatment.
If you have a verruca and wish to swim, wear verrucae socks to avoid spreading the infection. These can be worn as a prophylactic measure as well.
When should I make an appointment with a podiatrist?
If you have diabetes or poor circulation, are pregnant, or have any other illness that affects your feet (or your immune system), you should never treat a verruca on your own and instead see a podiatrist.
Consult a podiatrist if you are concerned about your verruca and/or self-treatment is not working and/or the verruca looks to be growing larger or more painful.
If any foot care difficulties do not cure themselves naturally or through ordinary foot care within three weeks, you should consult a healthcare expert.