The Best Verruca Treatments

What is a Verruca?

A Verruca is a small lump of hard skin, also known as a plantar wart, that grows on the sole of the foot. Verrucae typically appear as a small black dot beneath the surface of the skin with hard skin growing on top. They can be painful, especially when standing; the sensation is often compared to walking on a needle. 

Verrucae are quite common and most people will experience one at some point in their life. They are caused by a virus that spreads via skin contact or contaminated surfaces. We have written more detailed information on Verrucae in the past.

Common Verruca treatments

Verruca will normally resolve of their own accord. However, this can take months and ⅓ of warts are still present even after 2 years. The pain and discomfort often leads people to seek treatment and remove the verrucae quickly. 

You can obtain over-the-counter treatments from your pharmacy, which tend to involve gels or ointments that contain Salicylic Acid. These home treatments can be helped along with other simple measures, such as:

  • Avoid touching the affected area and wash your hands after your touch the verruca
  • Change your socks daily
  • Cover the verruca with a plaster when swimming (this also helps avoid passing on the virus to others)
  • Take care not to cut the wart

In addition to these conservative measures, there are several more specialised treatments that can be accessed via your GP or a podiatrist. These include:

  • Cryotherapy: The Verruca is destroyed by freezing, typically with the use of liquid nitrogen.
  • Verruca Needling: Sterile needles are used to puncture the Verruca, this stimulates your body’s own immune response to the wart.
  • Silver Nitrate: This compound can be used to chemically burn the Verruca away. 
  • Electrocautery: This method also seeks to burn the Verruca away, by using electrically heated needles.
  • Surgery: This involves removing the Verruca with surgery. This is not recommended as a standard therapy as it can be painful, disruptive to activities and cause scarring.

What is the best treatment for a Verruca?

It should first be understood that there is no 100% treatment for verrucae. Salicylic acid and Cryotherapy are two of the most common treatments, and statistically these are both equally effective. Where one treatment method fails, another will be tried to improve the chances of success.

There are also several other factors that may have a bearing on the recommended treatment in a particular case. For example:

  • General health: Diabetic patients or people who are on certain medications should usually see a specialist to treat the warts. Home therapies are often discouraged in the first instance.
  • Severity: If you have multiple warts that are painful and prevent normal activities, the more drastic measures would be considered earlier, e.g. surgery may be attempted earlier
  • If you are pregnant you may be advised to delay treatment until after birth

Due to the above there is no easy answer to ‘What is the best treatment for a Verruca?’. Your specialist will take the whole picture into account and advise on treatment for you. This will usually be a staged approach:

  1. First line treatments: These include salicylic acid treatments or potentially silver nitrate solutions that are available over-the-counter
  2. Second line treatments: These include cryotherapy, dry needling or electrocautery available in clinic
  3. Third line treatments: This would involve surgical removal of the verrucae

Find out more about metatarsalgia

If you would like to discuss Verruca treatments further, or would like to reserve an appointment with one of our podiatrists, please do get in touch:

T. – 0207 412 8882

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A. – 17 Harley Street, London, W1G 9QH

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Thoughts and advice on foot health care from the Podogo team.