Plantar warts on the feet, also known as verrucas, as opposed to common warts , tend to grow inwards rather than outwards because of the constant pressure on them from standing and walking. Verrucas normally occur on the sole of the foot and are moist. The skin surface is rough and the shape irregular. They often have tiny black centres, appear in groups and become painful if they press on a nerve.
Verrucas are caused by a virus entering the foot, possibly via a slight area of damage – in the same way as common warts – and are very infectious, particularly among children. The virus loves warmth and moisture – and soggy feet! – so is easily passed on in such places as swimming pools and showers. If you have verrucas, therefore, you shouldn’t go barefoot until they have cleared up. Many swimming pools now provide plastic socks for children with verrucas to wear so as to avoid infecting others.
Verrucas can be treated with over-the-counter remedies which usually contain a keratolytic – salicylic acid, for example – to soften the verruca so that it can be cut out or pulled off. If possible, cover the verruca with a ring-pad plaster to protect the surrounding skin. Put a small quantity of the ointment or paint on the verruca, then cover it with a plaster for two to three days. After several applications, the verruca should separate from the surrounding healthy tissue. If this doesn’t happen within about two weeks, consult your doctor or chiropodist.
After a few days of treatment, the verruca will probably appear white or blanched. This is perfectly normal and indicates that the treatment is working well.
You can also get rid of verrucas with another form of treatment which doesn’t require the use of sticking plasters. Buy a non-keratolytic paint such as Glutarol which contains glutaraldehyde, a disinfectant working directly on the wart virus, inhibiting its activity. It also exerts a powerful anhidrotic, or anti-sweating effect, which reduces the tendency of warts and verrucas to spread, so helping to minimise the risk of cross-infection.
Other methods of removing verrucas if they become painful are cryotherapy – ‘freezing’ them with liquid nitrogen; Imrning’ with an electric cautery; or scraping them out with a scalpel called a curette. Often a local anaesthetic will be given first to numb the surrounding area. A chiropodist is usually the best person to consult about recurrent or persistent verrucas.
Sufferers from diabetes should always consult a doctor about foot problems because they can more easily pick up infection.
Compound W, Cupal Verruca Treat-ment, Duofilm, Glutarol, Salactol