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Warts are small rough growths on the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body but are found most commonly on hands and feet. Warts on the soles of the feet are called verrucas. Many children and teenagers develop warts or verrucae, or both, but they can also occur later in life.


These small lumps arise because the skin is infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Skin cells infected by this virus overproduce keratin, a skin protein that is very tough. The mound of keratin hardens into a typical raised white scaly lump.


Yes, but they are not spread very easily. The HPV virus that causes these skin growths can spread in damp conditions like in changing rooms, gyms and swimming pools or in small children by hand-to-hand contact during play.


The virus causes warts so when the body becomes immune to HPV the wart disappears. This generally takes about two years from when the wart first appears. Hand warts often go away by themselves without treatment. Verrucae tend to be more deep-seated within the fleshier sole of the foot and they can cause discomfort or pain when walking, running or standing. You should check any wart or verruca and you may need treatment if:

  • The wart or verruca bleeds
  • It continues to grow, spreading into neighbouring areas of skin
  • The wart or verruca changes suddenly
  • It’s causing pain or if you want it removed for cosmetic reasons
  • In very rare circumstances, some people develop a large cluster of very large warts or verrucae. This may indicate a problem with the immune system, which needs to be investigated so that the cause of the problem can be identified.

Cryotherapy – the wart or verruca can be frozen by liquid nitrogen that’s applied directly to the skin of the growth. It may take several sessions for the wart to disappear completely and the treatment can be uncomfortable.
Electrocautary – using micro-current probe to damage the virus.
Salicylic acid – for a small lesion, many over-the-counter preparations are available with varying strengths and varying levels of effectiveness. Treatment can take 12 weeks and can be difficult to keep up. This method of treatment is most useful for very small hand warts but most larger warts and verrucae will need to be frozen off.
Laser surgery – ablative lasers are a very successful removal method.
Surgery – larger warts or verrucae may require surgery if they fail to respond to other treatments such as cryotherapy and salicylic acid.

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