Foot verrucae (causes, symptoms, prevention, treatment)

Verrucae (often misspelled as verrucas) are warts on the planter surface (sole) of the foot. These warts develop on the lower side of the feet and are generally harmless.

If there are no symptoms like pain or discomfort then they can be left untreated, however if they’re spreading, associated with pain or any other symptoms then a doctor should be consulted immediately.

Make sure you consult your doctor even if they’re asymptomatic, just to make sure they’re verrucae and nothing to worry about and not any other disease similar to them in appearance.

What causes foot verruca?

The causative agent for verruca is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). It’s a highly contagious virus and spread through direct contact with the infected person or object.

There are various types of HPV associated with infection to various parts of the body that they involve.

Spread of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and foot warts

HPV is considered to thrive in moist and damp places such as swimming pools and showers. Therefore contacting with the virus is possible for individuals walking on a wet floor contaminated with HPV, brought there through another person having this virus in his feet or other parts of the body.

Spread is especially possible if there is an injury or cut on the foot, which allows the virus to penetrate the victim’s body easily.

Verrucae are considered harmless generally, pain and spread is usually the only main concern for getting medical attention. However always consult a doctor even if you think it’s safe, to make sure it isn’t something dangerous with appearance like verrucae.

What are the symptoms of verrucas?

Verrucae or plantar warts are pretty obvious and their symptoms include:

  • Small and bumpy growths on the plantar surface of the foot (sole)
  • Growths usually have a tiny black dot or dots on their surface
  • Warts are painful when walking or standing


How to prevent verrucae?

Prevention is better than cure. Best way to prevent foot verrucas is to avoid exposure to the virus that causes verruca (HPV).

Tips to avoid getting in contact with HPV include:

  • Don’t go and walk barefooted in shower or around swimming pool, instead use shower shoes, flip-flops, verruca socks, rubber swimming shoes, etc.
  • Always wash your feet thoroughly using a disinfectant once you’ve been to an area where the virus can be found.
  • Never touch anyone else’s foot warts
  • Don’t share towels, socks, washcloths, flannels, etc. with the infected person
  • Keep your feet dry
  • Change your socks everyday
  • Never scratch the verruca. Scratching may spread it to other parts of the body easily
  • Cover your verruca with water proof plaster
  • Use special verruca socks for swimming or other suspected public places where you need to be bare footed to avoid getting in contact with HPV and acquiring verruca
  • Use gloves whenever in a shared gym, so that you don’t acquire the virus through the shared gym equipment if someone in the gym has a wart in their hands

Have a healthy diet and keep the safety precautions on, so that you can prevent getting in touch with the virus causing foot warts, and in case you acquire some of the verruca viruses, your immunity can help fight with it efficiently with the help of good diet.

Don’t forget to get expert medical advice if you ever acquire the HPV. Your doctor can advice you on how to get rid of verrucas specifically in your case.

Remember that the precautions to prevent foot warts apply on you when you had acquired the verrucae already too. You should follow these tips to prevent the spread of verrucas to other people around you, at home, school, swimming pools, gym, etc.

Treatment of Verrucae

Developing verrucae is especially common for people who visit damp and moist places like swimming pools or share washrooms with other people and socks etc. Also, keeping wet socks and shoes on can help fungus develop too.

If you develop foot verruca, don’t touch or scratch them so that they don’t spread or cluster. It’s helpful to cover them with a small plaster and it usually helps it cure itself.

Usually, foot warts disappear on their own in 2 years in adults and around 6 months in children. This is because our immunity gets rid of the virus itself by fighting with it.

If you’re having a small wart or verrucae on your foot and it’s painless, usually no treatment is required, however do check with your doctor to confirm specific to your condition.

If the foot wart is painful or spreading, it needs urgent medical attention and treatment. Consult a doctor to get expert advice for your condition. If it’s not painful or spreading, only care is needed to speed up the healing process.

Usual treatments for foot verrucae includes:

  • Treatments based on acids
  • Freezing with nitrous oxide or liquid nitrogen, called cryotherapy
  • Excision of verruca through surgery
  • Electrosurgery
  • Duct tape
  • Laser treatment, especially if large area is involved

Surgery is not usually recommended for warts, as they usually reappear and then further treatment is also required.

Certain treatment options may result in side effects including blisters, mild pain, skin irritation around the warts, etc.

Treatment of warts during pregnancy

If a pregnant lady develops foot warts, she should discuss with an expert only and he will advice recommended verrucae treatment options for pregnant woman, including:

  • Cryotherapy
  • Salicylic acid
  • Duct tape

Note that the salicylic acid can only be used in pregnancy if it’s used for a limited duration of time and also on a small area only. Discuss in detail with your treating doctor regarding the safest and best way to treat your condition.

The treatments are useful but need expert skills and can cause more damage if not done correctly by untrained personnel. Therefore always consult an expert doctor (podiatrist or skin specialist, etc.) if you’re suffering from verrucae to get expert opinion on your condition and best treatment in your case.

Teach you kids to practice the safety precautions for verrucae to your kids and people around you to avoid the spread of the disease and to control it.

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