By Dr_Trisha-Macnair Published 01/21/2016 16:04:00 | Views: 470

What are they?

Warts and verrucas are small, non-cancerous growths within the skin caused by the human papilloma virus.

Warts may occur on their own or in clusters. There are many different types including:

  • Common warts. These raised growths with a hard uneven surface are the most familiar type of wart, which usually appear on the hands and feet.
  • Plantar warts, known as verrucas. These are warts on the soles of the feet that have been pushed into the skin surface by the weight of the body.
  • Plane warts. These are smaller and lie flatter in the skin mostly on the hands or face.


They're caused by a viral infection in the skin cells. The virus is called the human papilloma virus (HPV), and there are almost 80 types of HPV.

Warts are common and all children are vulnerable, but children with immune system problems may have an increased risk. The virus is found throughout the environment and is infectious, but the risk of catching them from public places is now debatable.

The symptoms

Each wart forms a small lump, but sometimes multiple warts fuse together to form a mosaic. Common warts are rarely painful, but plane warts may be itchy.

Verrucas form round areas within the skin, often with a central dark spot. They may be painful when pressure is applied.

Diagnosis and treatment

Most warts disappear without treatment after a few months or years - 20 per cent of growths disappear within three months. Their duration is influenced by changes in the body's resistance to the HPV virus.

Warts and verrucas only need treatment if they're painful, or are a cosmetic problem. There are a range of treatments that can be applied at home, which include a combination of salicylic acid paint and rubbing with a pumice stone or foot scraper. Stronger treatments can be obtained from a chiropodist or doctor.

Further help

Talk to a doctor if a wart doesn't respond to simple treatment or disappear after a while.

Other treatments include laser or cryotherapy (freezing), or surgical curettage to scrape it out. These treatments are quite effective, but may need to be repeated. Very resistant warts can be injected with toxic chemicals.

By Dr_Trisha-Macnair 01/21/2016 16:04:00

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