Verruca and Warts: Verrucas Explained


Verrucas (medical name verrucae pedis) are warts but are a specific type of wart, appearing on the feet. Just like the common wart, verrucas are harmless and often clear up on their own – but they may become painful (because the pressure from walking may force the verrucas into the skin) or be a source of embarrassment. In these instances, you may want to have treatment to remove them.

In this article, Amopé™ looks at what causes verrucas, what they look like, how they can be treated, and what can you do prevent yourself from contracting verrucas.

What causes verrucas?

Like all warts, they are caused by the viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family, which invade the skin through tiny cuts or scrapes. It may take up to several months for the verruca to appear after infection. Verrucas are contagious and thrive in damp conditions. Often they are spread from the surface of communal wet surfaces, such as public swimming pools or communal showers. They can even be spread through the shower in your home. Something else to note is that verrucas may easily break out amongst people who engage in group barefoot activities, such as yoga.

What do verrucas look like?

Verrucas are small, bumpy growths on the soles of the feet. They are white, often with a black dot (blood vessel) on its surface. The verrucas will be flat, rather than raised.

How can I treat my verruca(s)?

Treatments that can be used to remove warts, such as salicylic acid, and chemical treatments, can also be used to remove verrucas. These methods are explored in-depth in the warts article. Laser therapy is rarely used but has also been known to be effective.

Preventing yourself from contracting them

You cannot totally eliminate the risk of contracting a verruca but there are things you can do to protect yourself against exposure to the HPV, (the virus which causes verrucas) thereby minimising the risk.

As with warts, it is recommended not to share a towel, shoes or socks with someone who has a verruca. It is also recommended to keep dry foot care and change your socks every day, as this could give the HPV the opportunity to breed. Also, do not scratch or pick your verruca, as this could cause it to spread to other parts of the body, and do not touch someone else’s verruca, as you could also expose yourself to HPV.

If you have been in an area where you think you may have been exposed to the HPV, wash your feet thoroughly with a disinfectant soap.