Verrucas (plantar warts)
Warts are small lumps that often develop on the skin of the hands and feet. They’re an infection of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes an excess of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis). The extra keratin produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.
When warts occur on the bottom of the foot, they’re called plantar warts, also known as verrucas. These are especially common in children, although people of all ages can, and do, suffer from them.
Unlike other foot warts, plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries. They are often gray or brown (though the colour can vary), with a centre that looks like a black pinpoint. Plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. Although many warts are painless, warts that develop on the weight-bearing areas of the foot (the ball or heel of the foot) can cause a sharp, burning pain.
Warts can be difficult to treat, and have a tendency to reoccur. Over-the-counter foot wart treatments are often unhelpful, because their use can inadvertently destroy surrounding healthy tissue. Specialists such as our consultants can recommend the most appropriate action to take, ranging from ointments or oral medications to, in the most severe cases, laser treatment.
The tips will help to prevent the spread of warts.
- Avoid direct contact with warts.
- Avoid walking barefoot, especially in public spaces.
- Change your shoes and socks frequently (at least daily).
- Check children's feet periodically.
- Keep feet clean and dry.