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What you need to know about Warts (aka Verrucae)

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Warts (medically known as verrucae) are small, firm bumps on the skin caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. Warts are common in all age groups, from kids to adults. They can be found on fingers, hands, feet, knees and legs. They are unfortunately contagious. Most warts are passed on from direct contact with another person who has warts or from shared public spaces especially if there’s a cut in the person’s foot. They are often difficult to get rid of. Below are some treatment options worth considering.

Treatment options

  1. Over the counter treatments - there are many treatments that you can use at home that include freezing or a weaker acid form of the one that your podiatrist will usually use.

  2. Conservative Podiatry treatment which involves removing the top layer of wart tissue, sealing the surrounding skin with tape and applying a pad with medical grade acids to the wart. This usually involves weekly-fortnightly visits to your podiatrist until it is resolved.

  3. Verruca Needling. This treatment option has proven very effective for stubborn warts that haven't responded to any of the previous treatments. It involves numbing the wart area and then the wart is needled multiple times to elicit an immune response. This treatment is usually quite successful and will need a follow up in 1 and 6 weeks.

  4. Finally you can just leave it alone! If the wart is not causing pain, not getting bigger or spreading, then you can leave it alone and there’s a chance that it can spontaneously resolve.

Please remember though that with any wart treatments it depends heavily on your own immune system and whether or not you have a good immune system for it to fight the wart. If the immune system is compromised warts can spread and get bigger. It is therefore recommended to have warts treated as soon as they arise.

Before any treatment is commenced it is important that you speak to your podiatrist first who will first assess the bump/lesion and determine whether it is in fact a wart before it’s treated. Often it is not a wart and it’s a simple corn which is a pressure related bump and not a virus. So it’s very important to make that distinction first.

Lastly, we recommend against dry freezing of warts that appear on the bottom of the foot. This leads to scarring and consequently subsequent corns and calluses appear at these sites ongoing.


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