Verrucas

What are verrucas?
Verruca is simply a wart on the sole of the foot

Verrucas are more common in children, teenagers and young adults. They are contagious and spread most easily among people sharing wet facilities such as swimming pools and shower areas.


Symptoms
Warts appear anywhere on the body, but verrucas develop only on the soles of the feet, usually as an area of thick, tough skin similar to a callus. Their dark appearance is due to the clotting of blood at the tips of tiny blood vessels called capillaries that grow into the verruca. Signs of verrucas may include pain, as if treading on a pebble, when walking or standing, a callused area on the sole of the foot, and one or more tiny dark dots, known as seeds, which sometimes become visible after paring or trimming the callused skin.


Causes
A verruca is a form of wart, a non-cancerous skin growth caused by the human papilloma virus that invades the outermost layer of the skin causing its cells to reproduce faster than normal. Their size can range from a pinhead to several centimetres across, and they can develop on any part of the foot as one or as part of a cluster. They are most uncomfortable when they develop on pressure points such as the heel. Pressure from walking and standing often pushes a verruca beneath the skin's surface, flattening the soft core that lies beneath the toughened superficial wart.


Treatment
In many cases, home treatment can be effective in dealing with verrucas. This often involves the repeated application of a non-prescription salicylic acid preparation to soften the tissue so that it can be rubbed off easily - a process that may take several months to be effective. Sufferers should wear comfortable shoes and socks and avoid high heels and other shoes that might increase pressure on the foot. Skin patches can be bought from a pharmacy to help relieve pressure on the verruca, along with pads or cushions to wear inside shoes to make walking more comfortable. Non-prescription drugs such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen may help relieve pain, but aspirin should not be given to anyone younger than 12. To prevent verrucas spreading, keep them covered with a bandage or athletic tape. Shoes, socks, towels and bath mats should never be shared.

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