By Podiatrist Nupur Raut
A verruca can be the bane of your life if they are in weight-bearing areas of the foot. They are not easy to get rid of and can either grow in size or numbers. Oh, and did I mention they also can remain dormant? Sounds scary, but knowledge is the key, so let’s dig a little deeper (yes, podiatry pun intended).
A verruca goes by many different names, “plantar warts”, “ingrown warts” or, “verrucae pedis”, which is what we Podiatrists call it.
When it starts to develop it feels like a little pebble in the shoe. As it grows, it can start to irritate the skin surrounding it and get quite painful. If left untreated the surrounding skin can also become inflamed, especially on the weight-bearing parts of the foot causing sharp pain when walking.
Verruca come in all different shapes and sizes and be quite difficult to distinguish so are often misdiagnosed as corns. This is because it depends on the whereabouts of it and how much overlaying hard skin it has. Under all the hard skin it has a cauliflower appearance, with little red dots in the center. If you’re not a contortionist, an easy tip is to use a hand-held mirror or better yet see your friendly-neighborhood podiatrist!
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of warts and verrucae. The virus corrupts skin cells causing them to produce more cells with the infected virus in them. The lesions also have its own little blood supply from the capillaries, which we see as the ‘little red dots’.
So, when should you see a Podiatrist? As soon as you suspect it! Why wait for it to get bigger, or spread? It takes a lot longer to deal with them if they are deep or more spread out. At Foot Mechanics we assess the shape, size, number and how long the verruca has been there to determine the right treatment, because there are many. There are conservative and surgical treatments that we discuss, as well as time frames. Remember, patience and persistence are the key with the treatment of Verrucae.
There is a lot of information out there on the internet. Anyone can write anything; how do we know it’s right? Well, I’ll let you in on a secret, our treatment plans at Foot Mechanics are all evidence-based. We have a vast knowledge-base among all our Podiatrists across New Zealand, and that’s the beauty, the research is already done for you!
You are now aware of what a Verruca is, why is it vengeful? Because it can come back! It’s transmitted through skin-to-skin contact so it is important we practice good hygiene. Wear footwear in public areas, and jandals around the pools, change your socks daily, cover any cuts or grazes and whatever you do, don’t scratch or pick at it!