Verruca is the name given to plantar warts that occur on the soles of the feet. Verruca are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and are usually picked up around swimming pools or passed from one member of the family to the next through sharing the same bathroom.
Verruca’s either tend to be painless or can cause the patient a great deal of discomfort. Additionally they can become very unsightly on the foot because as they develop they produce hard skin which has lots of black dots embedded within the skin cells.
As the verruca is viral in nature it has the ability to spread onto other areas of the foot so it is very important that the patient keeps the area covered at all times and washes their hands before and after touching the area.
Treatment is only recommended if the verruca appears to be spreading and / or is painful.
Treatment Is not often required or advised in children.
There are many different ways to treat a verruca. If over the counter treatments are not successfully then we offer cryotherapy.
Cryospray (the spray form of cryotherapy) is based on the principle that living cells which are rapidly frozen are initially damaged and subsequently die from the effects of freezing. It is now widely thought that it is the rate of cooling and thawing which causing this effect rather than the actual temperature achieved and that in practice few cells are able to change quickly enough to protect themselves from the rapid change in temperature.
It is probable that the membranes of the affected cells are ruptured during freezing, releasing cell contents and viral antigens. This release is picked up by the immune system which can eventually result in a reduction and or clearance of the verruca.
Cryospray is designed to freeze tissues to around -50 degrees to achieve an effective result.
Other cryogenic treatments (e.g. liquid nitrogen) can reduce the temperature of the tissues to -185 degrees which may result in a lot of pain.
Please note that it is very important that the patient returns for a follow up consultation to allow for the site to be examined. We usually recommend a minimum of 3 treatment sessions with a 2 week gap in between each appointment.
Although medical research is always ongoing, it should be noted that currently there is no guaranteed treatment for the permanent removal of verruca and each patient will have a different outcome.