Verrucae – Plantar Warts

The Bane of our existence, verrucae apparently infect 1/5 people at any given time. That’s an aweful lot of warts. Verrucae or HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is a virus. There are perhaps over a hundred varieties of the virus and can grow or manifest in many places on the body, Certain types prefer the feet and they can take different shapes, and have different levels of pain and discomfort.
Most verrucae are benign lesions that occupy the foot and take on a variety of appearances. Some have a cauliflower appreance, others appear flat, in clusters.

Others are raised, red and can be painful. Some have what appears to be little black dots. Verrucae viruses can not exist outside the body for too long, and in order to pick up the Virus, there has to be a contact with it through an area of the body where the skin has been weakened. Small scuffs and scrapes on the skin can allow entry to the virus. Areas where there are more people, like swimming baths, beachfronts, gyms tend to be where one increaces the chance of infection. Of course cross infection between family members as well.

Verrucae generally are not sore on direct contact unless they are the inflammed type, but if one presses the verrucae laterally or on the sides it hurts. This is why some people can have them and not be aware, but if the Verrucae happens to be in a position like the side of the foot or heel, or over a bony prominence or joint, it can be uncomfortable to walk on.

Many people try to treat them with home remedies, as these are widely advertised. These remedies unfortunately are not very effective and some of them, particularly the acid based ones can have side effects. They harm good skin as well as bad, which can lead to inflammation, an increase in pain , and a spreading of the verrucae. The freezing based treatments may be usefull for chidren older than 10, but not adults as it does not reach the required tempratured below zero to be tissue destructive.

Success with any treatment however relies on getting the bodies immune system to wake up and deal with the virus. Because the Verrucae occupies the Epidermis, and the Dermis is where the blood supply is,  it does not create a signal for the bodies immune system to respond, which is why they can live for years. Generally it is believed that Verrucae have a limited lifespan of about 18 months, and that they will spontaneously dissapear in time. Nowadays we see that this is often not the case and this may be due to personal health habits and diet. Poor nutritional state can lead to lowered immune response ability, hense a spreading of verrucae. Smoking, drinking and poor dietry choices play a role in this.

In my Clinic, we have a number of choices for treatment:

1) Liquid Nitrogen – useful for single lesion that are not too big. Not ideal for children due to discomfort. LN is -196 degrees, and drops the temprature in the skin to below -30, which is required for tissue destruction. You will be left with a blood blister, which whne removed, will remove the verrucae with it.

2) Marigold Therapy –, is a homeopathic approach to dealing with Verrucae. Usefull for those where other therapies are not recommended, like large, clusters and groups of verrucae. Good for stubborn verrucae. Children friendly, pain free and quite effective.

3) Dry Needling – can be useful for those with multiple Verrucae, we choose the biggest one, and under a little local anaesthetic, we multiple puncture the verrucae, with the intension of driving viral tissue deeper to elicit an immune response. Once this happens, all the verruce will clear. It is relatively non invasive, heals quickly. in-expensive, and takes a few months to know the result.

4) Electrosurgical Removal with the Radiolaze. This technique involves removal of the verrucae under local anaesthetic. The lesion is skimmed off the dermis, leaving a small wound that will heal in a few weeks. This is generally a one shot treatment with a high success rate.

5) Some clinics offer ND:YAG laser, this equipment is expensive so the treatment will cost more. But it may be usefull in some cases. We do not provide this yet.

6) Occlusive Taping is a technique that can be tried at home. It involves the application of a piece of tape, like plastic sticky tape to the area. This is replaced every day till the verrucae falls off.

7) Cellfood is an Oxygen mineral supplement, that provides 78 minerals, 34 enzymes and 17 Amino acids to stimulate an improvement in health and immunity. This has shown to be useful in stubborn cases, and is often used as a back-up to other treatments. So we treat inside to out.

There is no guarantee with any treatment… finding the right approach often takes time.
We provide a free 1st consult to establish the route forward, to choose the best treatment suited to the individual.