What do they look like?
They look like circular, can be slightly raised with a thick rim, and be confused with corns. Some verrucas have black spots in the centre and some are rough and bumpy with a cauliflower appearance. There can be just one or a cluster of them.
What types are there?
They are referred to as warts and can be found not only on the feet but also on the hands. Common warts tend to be flat, filiform warts are finger like projections, and mosaic warts form in clusters.
What causes verrucas?
A strain of the Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) which penetrates the surface of the skin, especially if there is a cut or crack present. You can be predisposed to them if your immune system is low.
Who gets them?
Usually occurs in young children and teenagers probably because they are more likely to use communal areas and walk around in bare feet. It is reported that 1 in 10 people get it at any one time, and some people are more prone to the virus than others, especially if their immune system is compromised.
How do they spread?
The virus thrives in a moist warm environment like swimming baths, shower areas and saunas.
How long do they last?
Often people are unaware they have them until they become painful usually if they are present over pressure points on the foot. Some only have them for weeks but often it can last for at least six months to two years.
How can I prevent them?
- Wear flip flops or croc shoes when going swimming around the pool and shower areas.
- Do not share towels or footwear.
- Avoid touching or scratching the verruca
- If you are already infected keep the verruca covered with a plaster to stop others in your household getting infected, especially in the shower.
- Try ways to boost your immune system byy eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercising regularly, plenty of sleep and rest, and avoiding unnecessary stress!
How can they be treated?
It is always advisable to see a chiropodist to confirm it is a verruca and not a corn. The chiropodist will then assess what the best form of treatment will be, dependent on the age of the person, how active they are and any medical conditions they may have.
The two most common forms of treatment are salicylic acid-which varies in strength, the higher the strength the more painful it tends to be to treat, and cryotherapy – freezing the verruca. The chiropodist will usually remove any tissue that is infected between applications, and assess the effectiveness of the treatment adjusting it accordingly.
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