What causes verrucas?
Plantar warts are caught by contact withvirally-infected skin scales. These are usually encountered on such surfaces as the floors of public locker rooms, shower cubicles and the tiled areas around swimming pools. However, the virus is not highly contagious, and it is unclear why some people catch plantar warts while others do not. The virus enters the skin through tiny breaks in the skin surface. Moistness and maceration (softening of the skin due to moisture) on the feet make infection with the wart virus easier. People with weak immune systems are more likely to get warts. This is because the body is less able to fight off the HPV virus.
Symptoms of verrucas
What do verrucas look like?
Plantar warts can occur anywhere on the soles and toes, and they often involve the weight-bearing areas. They vary in size from just a few millimetres to more than one centimetre. Each has a rough surface that protrudes slightly from the skin surface, surrounded by a horny collar. Close inspection of a plantar wart may reveal small black dots (which are blocked blood vessels). An individual may have one or many verrucas, sometimes associated with warts elsewhere on the body.
Diagnosis of verrucas
Usually this is easy, and based simply on the appearance. However, sometimes it may be hard to tell a plantar wart from a corn. One helpful point is that plantar warts interrupt the fine skin ridges on the sole, whereas corns do not. Your Chiropodist may need to pare down the area to be certain of the diagnosis; he/she will be looking for the small black dots which confirm the diagnosis of a viral wart. No other investigations are needed.
Yes, but no single treatment can be guaranteed to be effective in every case. The highest cure rates are in young people who have not had their warts for very long. However, most verrucas will go away by themselves in due course, so it is very reasonable to leave them alone if they are not causing trouble.
Some of the more commonly used treatments
Over the counter treatments. A variety of creams, gels, paints and medicated plasters are available from pharmacies. Most of these contain chemicals such as salicylic acid or formaldehyde as their active ingredient and can take up to 3 months of continuous treatment to get rid of warts (eg) Duofilm®, Salactol®. Diabetics and people which poor circulation and peripheral nerve problems should not use these products without consulting a health professional as they can cause skin irritation in vulnerable patients.
What can I do?
If you have a verruca:
Whelehans Cryotherapy Clinic takes place in our private treatment room this Saturday May 30th from 9am. An appointment takes approximately 20 minutes. Cost is €45 euro for first treatment (this includes assessment) and then €35 for follow up treatments should you need them. Our Chiropodist James can treat adults and children. James can treat warts on your hand and verrucae on your feet. Follow up clinic will be last Saturday of each month. There are no discounts for medical card, children or old age pensioners.
Chiropodist James Pedley has a twice weekly chiropody clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays with reduced rates on Tuesdays for over 60s. Call 04493 34591 to book a chiropody appointment.