What is a verruca?

A verruca is a wart usually on the sole of your foot and this is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The infection may present as a single lesion or as multiple lesions. They can vary in appearance and size depending on their location. A good test to see if you have a verruca is to pinch the lesion and then push the lesion. If it hurts during a pinch and not during a push, then it is likely to be a verruca. Verrucae also commonly have small black dots in the centre of the lesion.

Who gets verrucas

Adults and children both develop verrucas and they are not as contagious as you may think. It is fair to say that children are most likely to get a verruca but they can come and go very quickly. Once the virus manages to replicate in your skin, they can hang around for varying lengths of time. If adults develop verrucas, with no treatment, these lesions can hang around for 5-10 years.

Treatment options

It is vital that before you treat a verruca, you ensure a correct diagnosis has been made. It is a good idea to see a podiatrist to ensure you do have a verruca and to seek advice about treatment to suit you.

You can attack a verruca in several ways

If the verruca does not hurt or is on a young child, you may choose to leave it and allow the body to fight the virus. Many people simply cover it with a plaster.

You may choose to use topical chemical agents (such as acids) of varying strengths, cryotherapy, verruca needling , SWIFT therapy, or ask for a surgical excision if the wart is very painful. It is important that you seek advice from your podiatrist to ensure you choose a treatment option that is suited to you and your lifestyle (for example: if you swim each day, a topical chemical agent may not be a viable option).


This can vary depending on the scale of the infection. Some verrucae will resolve themselves without treatment. Most verrucae will resolve with treatment although some long standing infections may be difficult to treat. Unless they are extremely troublesome, conservative treatment causing minimal skin trauma is always advisable.

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