Warts are typically small, rough, and hard growths caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), of which at least 60 types are known.

Podiatrists deal with several types of warts, the most common of which are:

Verruca Vulgaris, or the common wart, is often found in the back of hands, fingers and knees. These lesions are usually small and may appear either singular or as Mosaic warts (which are groups of warts). Common warts are typically slightly raised above the surrounding skin or dome shaped. They can range in colour from a dark brown to a grey and usually occur in areas where there has been a previous trauma.

Verruca Pedis or the Plantar wart is found on the plantar surface of the foot and are flat, rough warts that can occur as singular lesions or Mosaic. It provides a large amount of discomfort to the infected person as when pressure is applied as it causes the wart to be pushed deep into the skin layers, impinging structures like blood vessels and nerves.

Nail warts, or Subungual Verruca, appear as rough and hard lesions that impact on the edge of the nail. The most severe complication that can occur from this type of wart is that it can continue to grow under the nail and affect the nail growth plate, thereby damaging the structure, development and growth of the nail.

The usual first line treatment for warts includes sodium nitrogen cryotherapy with a hand held spray unit for 30 seconds. This painful procedure may create blistering, and the area may be uncomfortable for several days, preventing weight bearing. For this reason, this treatment is contraindicated to children and “at risk” or immuno-compromised patients.

At-home treatments can allow the infected person to apply a mild acid topically over the wart, such as salicylic acid. This treatment requires multiple applications, works by disintegrating viral cells, and allows healthy cells to replace them. However, this treatment, when not properly performed has the potential to destroy healthy skin cells.

Surgical removal, or curettage, may be performed by a Podiatrist under local anaesthesia, to remove isolated and warts that would not respond


Written by our Mobile Podiatrist – Jemma Riddiford

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