Warts & Verruca’s
Warts & Verruca’s
Have you got a question regarding verruca’s and warts? You might just find the answer here. Read on for more information about causes, symptoms and treatment.
What are verrucas & warts?
Verruca’s and warts can be really annoying. They usually appear as tiny lumps on skin of hands and feet, and their appearance may vary and are developed singularly, or in clusters. Some of these are likely to affect specific areas of the body, for example, verruca’s (medical name verrucae pedis) is/are a type of wart that only appears on a person’s foot sole. Warts, also known as common warts (medical name verrucae valgaris), are generally found on the top of hands, toes and fingers.
Verruca’s and warts usually appear as small hard patches on specific areas on skin. Their colour is similar to your skin colour and the most typical ones are often flat, rough and wrinkled. If they're found at the sole of the foot, most commonly they would be white and might often have a black dot (blood vessel) on the surface. These can be really painful because the entire body weight comes down on them.
What causes warts & verrucas?
Popular locations such as swimming pools, changing rooms in gyms, communal showers and overall moist environments are infection prone areas and infection occurs through contact in such places.
How do they develop and spread?
Warts and verruca are infection found on the top layer of the skin, it is caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. These viruses have over 100 variants and they are most likely to cause a verruca or wart whenever they directly contact the damaged or cut out skin.
If you have contracted an infection which resulted in wart or verruca, it means that you must have contacted this virus sometime in the past. Most common mode through which, people contract warts is through direct skin to skin contact, such as shaking hands with somebody. Virus can also be caught by using inanimate objects, for e.g. sharing the same towel with someone who has warts or operating through something as simple as same doorknob, switch, etc. You’re most likely to contract a verruca or warts on your bare feet from damp and moist flooring such as common shower rooms, public swimming pools or even your bathroom mat.
What do warts and verruca’s look like?
The common wart is mostly oval or round in shape. It is often firm and raised with a rough and irregular surface and can differ in size, from 1mm to 1cm in diameter. Verruca and warts are not painful on most occasions, although they might itch or bleed occasionally. You may develop one, or several common warts at a time.
Verrucas are small, bumpy growths found at the soles of feet. They are whitish in colour and might often have a black dot (blood vessel) on its surface. Verrucas are mainly flat, rather than raised.
How can you prevent warts and verrucas?
Most people develop a wart or verruca at some point in their life - but there are few safety measures you can take in order to keep yourself from warts and prevent them from spreading to others if you do have them.
Washing your hands thoroughly and regularly is a major step. Always try to keep your skin healthy and moisturised. Try not to bite your fingernails or cuticles. Wash your hands thoroughly on regular intervals, as it is an important step to prevent infection from spreading. Avoid sharing personal things and develop a habit of keeping personal belongings to yourself such as gloves when you are sharing gym equipment and fresh and clean towels in public swimming pools. This way you can avoid spreading warts and verrucas.
It is recommended to change your socks every day and always keep your feet dry, as this will prevent HPVs from breeding. If you have a wart or verruca, kindly refrain from touching, scratching or picking it, as doing any of these could spread it to other parts of your body.
If you doubt that you have walked in an area where you may have been exposed to the HPV, make a point to wash your feet thoroughly using a disinfectant.
How to get rid of warts
Most warts fade away when they are simply left alone to disappear on their own. There are various home remedies for wart removal as well. You need to understand that wart removal treatments, both clinical and home remedy, require patience and can be a bit painful at times. The home treatment methods do not exactly kill HPV, but they do help in creating an environment that makes it difficult for a verruca or wart to survive.
The treatments mentioned below can be helpful to get rid of Verruca and Wart:
- Salicylic Acid - This makes the texture of the skin hostile in such a way that warts can’t survive. It dissolves the substance that sticks skin cells together, which ultimately dissolves the wart. This method can take weeks to work, and results vary from person to person.
- Liquid Nitrogen - This method of using liquid nitrogen will freeze away the verruca or wart and form a blister once it is applied. Over the counter options such as Scholl Freeze Verruca & Wart Remover are made up of mixture of dimethyl ether and propanis which create a low-level freezing effect. There is no clinical proof of this treatment being fast and effective, but it is efficient and comfortable as you can practice this from the comfort of your respective homes. When applied regularly, the verruca or wart will gradually peel off within 10 – 15 days as the body will replenish and substitute the wart with healthy tissues.
If the wart persists even after home treatment and treatment at your GP’s office, surgery is a viable option. Below are some surgical treatment options for wart removal:
- Electrosurgery and curettage – Electrosurgery is a process where the wart containing skin is burnt using electrical charge, while Curettage is the surgical removal of the wart tissue by using small spoon shaped tool or a sharp knife. In some cases, both these procedures are done together.
- Laser surgery – Laser surgery is a process where wart tissue is burnt using intense beam of laser.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. USE ONLY AS DIRECTED. See your doctor if symptoms persist.