What are warts? 

Warts are small, rough growths that develop on the skin of the hands and feet. They can develop individually or in clusters. They are common in children of school age, but can also affect otherwise healthy adults.

Verrucas are warts that form on the soles of the feet.

What causes warts?

Warts are caused by an infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV), of which there are several sub-types, which affect humans.

What are the symptoms?

Some plantar warts are uncomfortable, particularly if they are on a weight bearing area of foot and may leave you feeling as though you have a stone trapped in your shoe.

Treatments

At LINIA Skin Clinic we offer a wide range of treatment options for those with warts/verrucas. A full consultation and examination are required, so that our expert dermatologists can recommend a personalised treatment plan to suit your individual needs.

The treatments generally include:

Salicylic acid preparations
Salicylic acid is a chemical that helps remove the hard outer layer of the wart. If the areas becomes extremely tender it is advised that you stop treatment for a day or two, to let the natural skin recover. The success rate of Salicylic acid treatments is extremely high for those patients who persist with treatment.

Formaldehyde preparations
Mosaic warts (see above) in particular may respond to a gel containing formaldehyde.

Cryotherapy
Freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen, using either a cotton wool bud or a spray, may be the next option. A number of freezings may be necessary. Cryotherapy can be combined with the use of a salicylic acid preparation to ensure an even higher success rate.

Removal under a local anaesthetic
The usual technique is to scrape the plantar wart away using a sharpened spoon-like instrument (a curette), and then to cauterise the remaining raw area. However, all surgical procedures leave scars and these may be painful on the sole. Furthermore, the wart may still recur.

Other possible treatments that a specialist may consider include topical dinitrochlorobenzene and 5-fluorouracil, intralesional bleomycin and interferons, photodynamic therapy, and laser treatment

When considering treatment of plantar warts, the following facts should be taken into account:

  • Warts usually go away by themselves, and, when this happens, no scarring occurs.
  • Successful treatment of a viral wart does not prevent further warts developing.
  • Some warts can be very stubborn; treatment does not always work and may be quite time-consuming.
  • Treating plantar warts can be painful, especially when liquid nitrogen is used, and can occasionally leave a scar which, on the sole, can be uncomfortable.
  • Sometimes it may be sensible to leave a plantar wart alone and allow it to resolve spontaneously. However, if treatment is necessary, your doctor will usually start with the least painful options, especially for children.

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