Warts and Verrucas – What you need to Know


This may have happened with you before, and it may even be a recurring problem. Verrucas and warts are small, often hard lumps that develop on the tougher skin of your feet, and sometimes even on your hands. These growths vary in appearance and can appear on their own, or in clusters.

You may have wondered why you get them. The truth is, that they are caused by an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes a large amount of keratin – the hard protein that comprises the hair and nails – to develop in the top layer of skin. This overproduction of keratin results in the hard, rough texture of the wart or verruca on the skin.

Most people will develop a wart or verruca at some point of their life. However, the problem is more prevalent in children and teenagers.

Warts and verrucas can be very contagious, as they can be transmitted through skin to skin contact between human beings. However, they can be transmitted also via contaminated areas and surfaces, such as communal showers or swimming pools. A wart won’t show up immediately if you’re infected, however, as it can take weeks, or even months to develop fully.

However, not every person coming in contact with a wart will develop a wart – each immune system is different. Some may not develop warts at all, despite exposure to the same. Plantar warts are 10 to 15 times less common than common warts.

Although warts elsewhere on the body can clear up on their own, verrucas will usually need some form of medical treatment. There are a number of ways you can go about wart removal, but the most common methods include:

  • Salicylic Acid
  • Chemical Treatment
  • Cryotherapy

 These all work in different ways to achieve the same result: they isolate and force the virus to recede, and the hard growth begins to soften. The length of time that a treatment takes can vary from person to person, based on how deep the infection is. It may even take up to two years for verruca or wart removal to be completely effective.

You shouldn’t usually need to see a doctor in relation to a wart or verruca, but as with any growth on your skin, if you’re unable to identify it, or you feel there is any reason for concern then you should seek medical advice.

This should be that case if the verruca:

  • Changes in appearance
  • Bleeds after a while
  • Causes you significant pain
  • Spreads to other parts of the skin