Verrucas or Plantar Warts: What You Need To Know
02nd Nov 2015
What are Verrucas?
Verrucas are warts that form on the soles of the feet, also known as plantar surfaces. Verrucas are also referred to as verrucae and/or Plantar Warts. These warts are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV). Most of these warts are benign and harmless. However, some of these warts can press deep into the skin from the pressure of standing and walking and can cause pain. In the majority of the cases these warts go away without any treatment, but sometimes medical attention is required to deal with painful warts. Plantar Warts that develop in clusters are called mosaic warts.
Causes of Plantar Warts:
Verrucas are caused by infections that occur due to HPV 1, 4, 2, 57, 60, 63, 65, 66, and 156. The virus attacks exposed surfaces of the feet skin via direct contact. They may enter through small abrasions and cuts in stratum corneum. Most people develop Verrucas Warts by walking on wet surface areas that are common in public swimming pool floors and communal showers. Sometimes one can get infected by them even from the showers at home. People who share athletic facilities and gyms are highly prone to develop these warts. After infection, the warts may not be apparent for many weeks or months. It is the incubation time for the viruses. Over several months, the warts can become prominent and painful.
Symptoms of Verrucas:
- Bumpy growths on feet soles that come with one or many tiny black dots;
- Painful sensations while walking or standing;
- Sometimes scratching the warts can induce bleeding
Diagnosis of Plantar Warts:
A dermatologist can diagnose Plantar Warts after carefully examining the warts.
Treatment of Verrucas:
While Plantar Warts do not require any treatment in most cases, they may require medications or surgery when a patient experiences pain due to them. A Verruca treatment London center can follow a range of procedures to get rid of these warts. Some of them have been discussed below:
- Keratolysis is an effective method of curing verrucas. It involves peeling away of the dead skin cells by applying keratolytic chemicals like trichloroacetic acid or salicylic acid. Treating the warts daily with these chemicals for 12 weeks have been found to remove warts completely in about 105 to 15% of cases.
- Cantharadin or blister beetle extract can also be applied to produce similar results.
- Immunotherapy by intralesional injecting of antigens is a unique way of removing the warts by forcing a immune response from within.
Plantar Warts Surgery:
- A foot surgeon may opt for cryosurgical methods by using liquid nitrogen or other similar chemicals. It involves freezing the outer cell structure of these warts and damaging the live tissue. A patient may need to go through two to three sessions before the condition is fully cured.
- Electrodesiccation followed by surgical excision is another common procedure, although it may produce scarring.
- Laser surgery is effective for larger warts that are difficult to cure. However, it is a painful and expensive procedure.
- Cauterization is applicable for long term treatments of verrucas. While cauterizing the base of the warts with anesthetic is an effective cure, it can still create keloids or scars.