Warts & Verrucas

OVERVIEW

Warts are small, rough lumps or growths on your skin, most common on your hands, knees and feet. Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). Most people get one at some point in their lives. A wart on the sole of your foot is called a verruca.

CAUSES

Warts and verrucas are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus infects cells in your skin, causing it to thicken and coarsen.

Warts and verrucas can spread from person to person by direct skin contact. They can also spread by contact with floors or surfaces contaminated with the virus. Although warts are contagious, it’s thought that the risk of catching them is fairly low. You’re more likely to get infected if your skin is damaged or wet, so infection can be linked to swimming pools and communal showers. You can also infect yourself. If you scratch a wart or verruca, the viral particles may spread to other areas of your skin.

You’re more likely to develop warts and verrucas if you have a weakened immune system, for example because you have had an organ or stem cell transplant.

PREVENTION

  • Try not to touch other people’s warts or verrucas.
  • Don’t share your towels, shoes or socks.
  • Wear flip-flops in communal showers.
  • Cover your wart or verruca with a waterproof plaster when you go swimming.
  • Don’t scratch or pick your wart or verruca as it’s more likely to spread.
  • If you use nail files or pumice stones on your wart or verruca, don’t use these on other areas of your skin.

TREATMENT

We recommend laser treatment – a  highly targeted beam of laser light is aimed at the wart or verruca. The energy from the laser heats up the blood vessels feeding the problem area, which collapse in on themselves as a result and stop the blood supply. This starves the wart or verruca of nutrients so it naturally falls off after a few weeks.

Each case is different, but on average 3 sessions spaced 2 weeks apart are required to completely remove warts and verrucas. Larger and deeply rooted verrucas may require several verrucas removal treatments.

Treatment usually takes around 10 minutes.