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Verucae (verruca pedis)...

Fact sheet number 2 : Verruca 


Verrucae are commonly known as warts. Warts can grow on different parts of the body, they are a harmless growth that are in the top layer of the skin, but we are interested in those that occur on the soles, heel and toes known as verruca pedis. The verrucae or wart are caused by the virus HPV (human papilloma virus) of which there are several types. The infections generally take place in communal areas where people walk around barefoot such as swimming baths, communal showers and sports centres. It only needs a scratch in the skin for the virus to enter.

 

Verrucae can develop singularly or more than one clustered together. They vary in appearance depending on whether the skin is moist or dry. With moist skin they look like rubbery undergrowth’s, whereas on dry skin they usually appear brownish, rough and crumbly. Often, they are covered with hard skin and on closer examination you can see small black dots, which is the bleeding of the verrucae caused by the pressure of standing/walking on it. They can be painful, especially in the morning when stepping down from bed. An easy way to test whether it is a verruca or not is to squeeze the side, if it hurts more when you do this it is most likely a verruca. Having said that many verrucae are painless. Verrucae are very contagious and to prevent from spreading treatment should start immediately. 


Some verrucae disappear of their own accord within one to two years due to the actions of the body’s natural immune system. For those that don’t there are a number of over the counter medicines available from your local pharmacist*. The pharmacist will advise on what medicine to use and the precautions required. Treatment may also be provided by your doctor free of charge.


 *Carefully read and follow the instructions on any medication that you purchase without prescription. If unsure about which treatment to use ask the Pharmacist for a recommendation. Consult your doctor if you suffer from diabetes.


Photographer
Richard Bailey