What is a Verruca?

Verruca’s are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and appear on the hands as warts and on the feet as verruca. They are also known as plantar warts because they commonly appear on the sole of the foot, particularly the heels, balls of the feet and between the toes.

Verruca can appear as 1 small single lesion or multiple lesions in one area- this is known as mosaic verruca.

Children are known to suffer from the virus more often than adults. This is because children’s immune systems are not as developed as adults and they are more susceptible to picking up the virus.

What causes it?

Verruca’s are a virus, and common in all environments, but does not readily attack the skin. They are often picked up in damp environments, swimming pools or public showers because if there is excessive moisture or excessive dryness of the skin this can lead to little cracks in the skin which allow the virus to enter.

The virus lies asleep until the immune system is weakened, particularly following periods of stress, or illness.

What will happen if left untreated?

You may never know you have a verruca – some disappear once the immune system has recovered. However they can easily spread if the verruca is scratched or touched. If you notice the verruca changing in shape or size or becomes painful seek attention from a Podiatrist immediately.

What can help?
  • Keeping your immune system active and healthy with a good diet.
  • Avoid touching the affected area.
  • Do not pick or scratch the verruca as this will spread the virus
  • Wear shoes/ flip-flops around the house while the verruca is active.
  • Do not share towels, shoes & socks.
  • Verruca love moisture – keep feet clean and dry
What are the treatment options available at Mespil Foot & Ankle Clinic?

Treatment does not need to be painful!

  • Diagnoses is key! Verruca are often misdiagnosed. They can beconfused with corns and often this will be treated with a pharmacy product and cause more damage to the skin.
  • Debridement of the overlying hard skin of the verruca is essential to create an immune response.
  • Caustic agents are used in clinic – silver nitrate, salicylic acid and phenol.
  • Homeopathic treatments such as Thuja 6c have shown to be beneficial.
  • Multivitamins are advised to help the immune system.


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