Verrucae (also called verrucas or plantar warts) are contagious growths that develop on the soles of the feet, caused by certain strains of the Human Papillomavirus. As health resource Skinsight’s photos of verrucae indicate, their appearance varies. Broadly speaking, however, verrucae are fairly round, rough, white or yellow, and contain blood vessels that look like tiny black dots.
You’re most likely to find a verruca in a weight-bearing region of your foot (namely the ball, heel or underside of toes). Verruca infections are unpleasant and can be uncomfortable too. They may make standing, walking and running painful. Some sufferers even develop a limp.
If you have a verruca, the last thing you want to do is unwittingly spread the infection. Thankfully, there are a series of practical steps you can take to reduce your chances of infecting another area of your feet or passing the verruca virus on to someone else.
How Verruca Infections Are Transmitted
When you’re trying to stop your verruca multiplying on your foot or affecting other people, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the different ways the infection can spread. As you’d expect, it’s most likely to be passed on via direct skin-to-skin contact (for example, if your infected foot touches your partner’s feet). But did you know that verrucae could also develop after skin is exposed to contaminated objects and floors? As a result, homes, swimming pools, gyms and other communal places can quickly become verruca hotspots.
Keep in mind that verruca infections spread more easily when skin is damp or broken. What’s more, if the surface of your verruca gets damaged and bleeds, it’ll be easier than ever for the virus to infect other areas or cause problems for other people’s feet.
Special care should be taken around children, teenagers and anyone who has a weakened immune system as they’re most vulnerable to verrucae.
What You Can Do to Limit the Spread
Following these simple tips can help you to guard against the spread of verrucae.
- Avoid touching the verruca (or worse, picking at it). If you do need to touch it for some reason, wear disposable gloves or wash your hands thoroughly immediately afterwards.
- Resist the temptation to scratch the verruca, even though it may feel itchy. You could easily make it bleed.
- Separate your bath and hand towels from those of everyone else in your household. Contaminated towels and other personal items are a major cause of verruca infections.
- Wear shower shoes so that you don’t go barefoot in the bathroom. Keep your slippers on when walking around the rest of your home.
- Don’t wear a pair of socks or tights for more than one day at a time and ensure that hosiery is laundered regularly.
- Don’t share hosiery or footwear with other people.
- Cover your infected foot with a verruca sock or waterproof plaster when you go swimming. Wearing a waterproof plaster is also helpful when you’re in the changing rooms at your gym or similar communal areas.
- After swimming, showering or bathing, dry feet thoroughly. Also, try to dry your infected foot last.
- Protect broken skin, cuts and scrapes with plasters or dressings, as those areas will be particularly susceptible to the verruca virus until they heal.
- Check your kids’ feet regularly for signs of the infection, and watch out for any more verrucae appearing on your own feet – clusters are common.
Seek Professional Verruca Treatment Swiftly
Undoubtedly, the most important piece of advice we can offer is to seek treatment for your verruca as soon as possible after you notice it. That way, the infection will have less opportunity to spread and is less likely to become a persistent problem.
At our London podiatry clinics, we provide a range of effective verruca treatment options, including acid crystals, cryotherapy and dry needling. Thanks to our skills and expertise, treating verrucae causes minimum discomfort for patients and brings welcome relief from pain and discomfort.
For specialist verruca treatment from our experienced podiatrists, please call Feet By Pody today on 0207 099 6657 or book your appointment online.