Verruca are warts on the foot. They are generally on the sole, but can be found elsewhere on the foot. They are caused by HPV, Human Papiloma Virus and usually go of their own accord after 2 to 3 years (particularly with children). The HPV virus is particularly good at hiding from the immune system due to its low number of T cell receptors (the receptors that the antibodies attach to), this can cause it to remain undetected by the immune system for years and can make it hard to treat particularly in adults. Verruca are generally caught from communal changing areas with non slip/rough flooring. One thing never to do with verruca is file them, even though over the counter treatments will tell you to do so, this seems to spread them.
For painful or stubbornly persistent verruca, there are a number of treatment options available.
Microwave Skin Therapy, This is the latest treatment for verruca and the most exciting development in Podiatry for many years. A recent study has shown it to be 76% effective at resolving recalcitrant (stubborn) verruca within three treatments over a nine week period. Compared to traditional treatment this is a massive improvement, with some acid therapy regimes going on for months if not years. As with cryotherapy there is pain when the treatment is applied, this only last for two to three seconds and then immediately subsides with no residual pain reported in the period between treatment. An unexpected but happy outcome from the research showed that all participants reported disappearance of pain from their verruca irrespective of whether the verruca remained or not.
Video Link to Treatment Overview
Cryotherapy, liquid nitrogen is sprayed onto the verruca to freeze it, this destroys the cells that are infected with the virus. Several treatments are usually required at two to three week intervals depending on the depth of the verruca. This treatment can be very painful during and for some time after treatment and the success rate is fairly low at around 18% of verruca resolving within a 12 week period.
Acid therapy, silver nitrate is applied to the verruca after the overlying callus is removed and repeated at fortnightly intervals. This can take several months, if not years, again depending on the depth of the lesion.
Suffocation, starving the verruca of oxygen can be a low cost treatment option, this can be achieved using several methods. Duct tape and nail varnish have been found to be effective if a little troublesome to apply and keep in place.