A verruca is a type of wart that occurs on the sole of the foot. It's quite similar to the common wart... beautiful and painless and all (not). They're circular in shape and slightly raised, not easy on the eyes, and their surrounding skin looks like a thickened rim which resembles a callus.

A verruca can be so painful because the weight we carry on our bodies is continually applying pressure onto our feet. Occasionally, this creates what's known as mosaic warts – clusters of small warts that are normally painless (it just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?). And although verrucas come and go very quickly in children, they can persist for a number of years in adults if left untreated. 

What does a verruca look like?

Early signs of verrucas on the foot look like lumpy bumps on the skin and are more often than not surrounded by a callus. It will bleed if you try to remove it, so it's best to keep your hands off. This is because they're highly vascular, setting them apart from other skin conditions. 

Types of verrucas

There are several different types of verrucas and/or warts which all vary in size and shape. For example, the size of a wart can range from 1mm to over 1cm in diameter. The different types of verrucas and characteristics are:

• Common warts (verruca vulgaris) – commonly grow on knuckles, fingers and knees
• Verrucas (plantar warts) – commonly grow on the soles of the feet
• Plane warts – usually found in young children and women
• Filiform warts (
verruca filiformis) – commonly grow on the neck, face and nostrils
• Periungual warts – commonly grow around and under nails
• Mosaic warts – commonly grow in clusters

How do you get a corn on the foot?

This kind of fungus thrives in moist, warm environments. People can get verrucas from many places including in and around swimming pools, locker rooms and shower rooms. There's a significant amount of papillomavirus around swimming pools, especially in shower areas. If you're a regular swimmer, be careful! Make sure your skin around your feet is intact and not damaged, which is what makes you more prone to getting deep verrucas in the first place. Always wear slippers in communal showers in the gym or around swimming pools.

How are verrucas spread

How are verrucas transmitted

Strains of papillomavirus, usually referred to as papillomavirus type 1, is the main cause of verrucas as well as other warts (1). There's naturally a high amount in certain environments and people actually carry it on the surface of their skin. Papillomavirus is harmless in general though, and only if it has access into the skin via penetration does it spread. When and if it penetrates the skin, it takes hold and can lead to warts. The likelihood of this happening highly depends on whether the surface of the skin is damaged with small cracks.

As verrucas thrive in warm, moist skin, they're very contagious and can easily spread from floor surfaces – watch out for your feet when in communal showers, showers at home, shared gym or athletic facilities, and group activities where your feet are exposed like yoga or martial arts. 

Can you get verrucas on your hands?

Verrucas are warts on the soles of the feet. This means that they can't form on the hands. 

How to remove a verruca root

There are several products and home remedies to get rid of verrucas quickly, but they might come with side effects like blistering, pain and even skin irritation. The objective of all kinds of verruca treatment is to:

 remove it without it returning later
• treat it without scarring
• promote long-lasting immunity to papillomavirus

There is no single verruca treatment that is entirely effective as none guarantees that it will not return. The best ways to get a verruca root out at home overnight include:

Salicylic acid is a great product to help remove verrucas

1. Salicylic acid 

Salicylic acid is the active ingredient of most medicated plasters, paints, gels and creams which are available over the counter and effective in clearing verrucas. However, little to no research has been conducted to determine exactly which kind of salicylic acid treatment, i.e. gel, cream or ointment, is most effective. However, the skin should be covered using a corn plaster or petroleum jelly to prevent any damage to the skin. 

Cryotherapy is a great way to get rid of verrucas

2. Cryotherapy 

Cryotherapy involves spraying liquid nitrogen onto the verrucas to freeze and consequently destroy the cells. This is followed by the development of a sore blister and scab which eventually fall off. It can be painful and takes between 5 to 15 minutes. This treatment is usually conducted by a medical practitioner at a clinic – bear in mind the exact cryotherapy procedure varies from one healthcare professional to another. The liquid nitrogen can either be sprayed directly or may be applied with the help of a stick that has cotton wool on its tip.

Some pharmacies offer spray-on products that aren't as effective as cryotherapy done in a clinic by a professional, however you can speak to your pharmacist or Doctor to see if they recommend a specific product you can buy.

Duct tape to remove verrucas is a popular method to try at home

3. Duct tape 

This method involves placing a small piece of duct tape on the verrucas for several days. If the tape falls off, replace it with a fresh piece. After 6 days or so, remove the duct tape and soak the verruca in some water.

Your treatment may take several weeks, depending on the verruca. Make sure to remove the bandage if you have one on and wash the verruca with soap and water once a day. Also, you can use a pumice stone to wear down the wart before trying any of the home remedies – some people claim the stone to be one of the best ways to get rid of a verruca. Verrucas and corns on the feet are not usually painful, but they are contagious, so don't share the stone or any of these items listed with anyone else.

How to get rid of a verruca on a child

As mentioned, warts can easily be passed from one person to another, but when it comes to children, verrucas can pop up more often thanks to everyday objects like toys. When this happens, the virus enters your child’s body through lesions in the skin and breaks out in the form of warts months later. But not everybody that comes into contact with the virus develops warts. Children are more prone to become infected with HPV because their immune systems are not fully developed, and they also tend to have more cuts and scrapes than adults. 

Preventing warts and verrucas is not always possible but there are some precautions you can take to minimize the risk of infection that includes making sure your children:

• wear footwear in public baths and showers
• don't share towels with friends
• wear socks in gymnastics, martial arts
and other barefoot indoor sports
• w
ash their hands regularly and dry them
• d
on't bite their nails
• don't touch other people's warts

• use moisturizing lotions to prevent dry skin

Prevention of verrucas

As mentioned, warts and verrucas are usually caused by direct skin contact or contact with surfaces contaminated with the human papilloma virus (HPV). It’s hard to completely avoid coming into contact with HPV but there are some precautions that may help to prevent them from spreading or developing, like:

• again, not touching other people’s warts or verrucas or sharing towels, shoes or socks
• covering the verruca  with a waterproof plaster when showering or swimming
• not scratching or picking it as it's more likely to spread
• if you use nail files or pumice stones on your wart or verruca, don’t use these on other areas of your skin

Which tip will you try to help you get rid of verrucas fast at home? Should you have any long-lasting symptoms or if the verruca becomes too painful, seek medical attention.

READ NEXT: Tried and tested remedies and products to help you get rid of verrucas.

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Find out how to safely and effectively remove verrucas, corns on the foot and warts quickly overnight with products found in your home.


1. Medical Life Sciences: https://www.news-medical.net/health/Causes-of-verrucas.aspx

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