Verruca Treatments

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What is a Verruca?

Verrucae are small lumps (warts) on the skin of the foot that most people have at some point in their life. Sometimes they disappear naturally due to immunological responses of the body, but many remain unresolved for months, even years and usually need treatment especially if painful, cross-infecting, or limiting activities such as swimming, and other sports.

What causes Verruca?

They are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus ( HPV 1 and 4), and can spread from contaminated surfaces or through close skin contact, especially if the skin is wet or damaged.

What do Verruca look like?

Verrucae have the appearance of tiny dots (sometimes black but not always), under the skin and feel hard or tender when pinched between the fingers. The natural lines or striaie of the skin will always travel around the virus rather than go through it, unlike with a corn. Clusters can easily spread over an area of skin (mosaic verrucae) and are common on the foot.

Are warts contagious?

Yes - however, the risk of passing them on to others is low - it can be passed on by touching but you need close skin-to-skin contact to pass the virus on directly. You are more at risk of being infected if your skin is damaged, or if it is wet and macerated, and in contact with roughened surfaces e.g. in swimming pools and communal washing areas.

You can also spread the verruca to other areas of your body. If you have a poor immune system you may develop lots of warts which are difficult to clear. (For example, if you have AIDS, if you are on chemotherapy, etc.)

To reduce the chance of passing on verrucae to others:

  • Don't share towels.
  • When swimming, cover any verruca with a waterproof plaster.
  • If you have a verruca, wear flip-flops in communal shower rooms and don't share shoes or socks.

To reduce the chance of spreading to other areas of your body:

  • Don't scratch verrucae or pick them
  • If you have a verruca, change your socks or tights daily.

Verruca Treatments available at Alpine Podiatry Practice

SWIFT Microwave Therapy

This is the latest and most effective treatment available, elevating tissue temperature and creating localised cell destruction. It involves a precise highly controlled microwave energy applicator being applied to the verruca after debridement of the overlying callus, for between 2-3 seconds, and repetition up to 4 or 5 times in the same area. The maximum length of treatment is 15 minutes in total, dependent on the number of verrucae present. Pain levels are likened to a hot scratch and quickly subsiding – it will not prevent anyone from undertaking normal daily activities. The patient is advised to have 2 further 15 minute treatments spaced 3-4 weeks apart, and then asked to return in 8-10 weeks time for a review when 85% of cases have resolved

Why choose SWIFT?
  • Less down time (less appointments)
  • No messy dressings to retain in place
  • Less painful than some acidic or freeze treatments
  • Higher success rate than traditional methods including Acid and Cryotherapy

This treatment is ideal for long standing verrucae that have so far been unresponsive to other treatments but is also good for new patients, and can be used on children with a lower wattage application.

My verruca’s had been with me for years ,being miss diagnosed and increasing in numbers with each treatment. By the time I tried Alpine Podiatry almost the whole of my heel area was covered too densely to count. At first conventional treatments were used with some success but it was painful and the worse inconvenience was not being able to get my foot wet for a few days after treatment. It was explained to me that because of the numbers and my age it could take a long time before they would be completely removed. Then Sue told me about the Microwave treatment she was about to try and asked if I would be interested. I agreed and we gave it a go. The treatment consisted of a probe being placed over a verruca and a pulse of energy was sent through it. It felt like being pricked by a hot needle but only lasted for a fraction of a second. No dressing required and no need to keep out of water. I could see visible results after the first week. Two weeks later it was done again then it was left for six weeks. The difference was amazing. It was done again and then left. The treatment continues to work. The Verruca's continue to wither. Now after six months only one or two are hanging in there and they look peakey. If they are still around at my next visit Sue and I will consider another blast just to finish things I highly recommend that anyone, like me with stubborn verruca's, give this a go. It is quick, clean and less painful than conventional methods carried out in a pleasant friendly atmosphere.
- A Rigby
Acid Treatments

Salicylic Acid (60%, 70%) is applied topically and has the effect of breaking down the outer layer of the skin, where the verrucae appear. The overlying callous is debrided often until bleeding occurs, the surrounding skin is masked and a paste solution is applied prior to dressing, which needs to be kept in place for 3 to 4 days. We advise that the affected area is bathed in salt water every 3 or 4 days after dressing removal until the return appointment in around 2 weeks.

For Children...

This treatment is often the best for children, because of its low toxicity, is not generally painful and is available in many forms. However we use minimum 60% strength whereas many first line or over the counter remedies are less than 20%

Other Acid treatments are available in different strengths, such as Silver Nitrate, Monochloracetic, and Trichloracetic Acids. The latter two however can produce extreme reactions and are used on carefully selected patients only


Uses profoundly low temperatures to destroy the tissues. The rate of freeze needs to be rapid and the cells need to reach less than -20 degreesC. We apply nitrous oxide at a releasing temperature of -88.5 degrees C

The advantage of this treatment is that dressings are not required; however it can be painful and has roughly the same outcome as the Salicylic Acid treatment. Often the two treatments are used in combination, on alternate visits