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Embarrassing Bodies, 12:25am Thursday 24th April 2014 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

Conditions

Verrucas

close up of verruca on foot

In the same way that walking barefoot around swimming pools, changing rooms and any communal area can lead to Athlete’s Foot, there is also the possibility that you might pick up the odd plantar wart (or verruca) as well. A verruca is a wart on the sole of the foot, which is pressed into the foot by the weight of the body, and can therefore be painful. You can have one verruca or sometimes you can have several small warts packed together into a small area, known as a ‘mosaic wart’ (not as beautifully artistic as it sounds, but usually painless). In children, verrucas tend to come and go quite quickly, but in adults they can persist for several years if they are not treated (although, some will go away by themselves). There are plenty of treatments available, but no single treatment is guaranteed.

+++UPDATE+++

In our episode first broadcast on Wednesday 22nd April 2009 we featured the case of Charlotte who was suffering from a severe outbreak of Verrucas. Charlotte’s operation to remove the verrucas from her foot appears to have been successful and her foot is healing really well. She’s back on her bike and back to being a normal child, pending a potential bone marrow transplant.

If your child has verrucas or warts, check our guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

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Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

Hi im liberty and I have been battling verrucas for 8 years. I have tried everything and csnt bo anywhere without my socks. I am a talented gymnast but I can't join my schools gymnastics team because of them I need help can u recommend anything 2 help?





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Hi my son has got verrucas in several different places on his foot.. We tried bazuka which didn't do a thing. We have been using white wine vinegar and duct tape for the past two weeks, just over night. It appears to be working, his verrucas have turned black and dried out. At what stage should I stop applying the vinegar and duct tape? Should the black be all gone? TIA :)





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I have had one on my foot for at least 7 years now it gets so painful and other the years it's been getting bigger and is now spread both my thumbs and 2 fingers, Iv tried everything I don't know what else to do can any help or give advice, Iv already been to my doctors but nothing is working at all





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Thank you to Gavin for your reply to my question posted on 2 April 2014. I have assumed that it is a verruca because after 8 years of doctors, podiatrists, dermatologists and hospitals, no one has said different. It is very deep and full of black dots that bleed very easily. Doctors and podiatrists say it's a verruca, but I will look into possibility of neurovascular corn. I have made an appointment, as you advised, to see a GP to ask for a referral to dermatology for DCP topical immunotherapy treatment. Last year I was referred to the NHS Hospital dermatologist and she gave me a tub of 10% Salicylic Acid and sent me on my way. This year I saw a doctor who has just finished another five treatment course of freezing despite me telling him that neither the ten previous freezing treatments nor cutting it out in hospital made any difference. The right treatment is out there somewhere. Thank you again for helping me to find it.





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It was Albert Einstein once said "the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over, and expecting different results" Indeed! I'm fairly sure it is a verruca, but worth checking. Verrucae form like knots in a piece of wood. Knots start very small and then push the grain of the wood out. If you look at the skin very closely you may see that your 'foot print' is pushed out just like the wood grain around a knot - chances are it's a verruca. Corns don't generally push the lines of the skin out. I used to manage the verruca service and managed to get rid of the vast majority of cases very quickly. I can tell you that in the resistant cases I could not resolve, and needed to drefer for DCP treatment, I found it to be 100% successful. So - not bad! Best wishes.

I've had a verruca on the ball of my foot for 8 years. I'm crippled by the pain, and use chiropody felt around it to try to protect it. Doctors have frozen it 15 times, it's been cut out in hospital, and for years I've used duct tape, 10% salicylic acid, banana skins and anything else that's recommended to me. Every doctor I see refuses to consider my immune system. They all say there's nothing that can be done. Where do I go from here?





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Your GP could refer you to dermatology for DCP treatment. It's a form of topical immunotherapy (basically your body is first sensitised to the chemical DCP and then this is applied to your verrucae, directing your immune system to these areas). It's only suitable for resistant and recalcitrant verrucae but is highly successful. Are you sure it's a verruca and not a neurovascular corn? Have you seen a podiatrist?

Hi I have verruca for two years now and I've been treating it with sacillic acid but it still won't go it got to the point where it pains so much when I'm walking and sleeping it doesn't let me sleep I'm in so much pain I need help any suggestions





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If you are in pain when sleeping I would suggest a couple of things might be happening. Either you've overdone it with the acid and may have an infection. It's easy to do, and if you have any swelling or colour change of the area you probably ought to be checking it out with your GP as you really don't want to get cellulitis! There is also the possibility that your treatment is actually working - when you trigger an immune reaction a verruca can get very painful and this could therefore be the beginning of the end for your verruca. It's tricky because one possibility is very good news, the other very bad. Best play it safe and see your GP or podiatrist to get it checked out. I agree with Eileen that sympathies should go out to all with verrucae, but all treatments and all healthcare professionals are not the same. Ask lots of questions in a way that's not specific to you as an individual "How many treatments, on average, do your patients need" etc.

Save your money! I spent a small fortune on a verruca I had for about 8 years, it was agony. Visits to GP, local hospital, Chiropodist, Podiatrist, Dermatologist and I tried all and any treatments that I caught sound of, I was desperate and in constant pain, walking was difficult. I couldn't believe that there was no cure available in this century! I eventually paid to see a consultant dermatologist in Cardiff Bay, he was my saviour. He wrote a prescription for Efildex and Occusal (used buckets of Occusal previously, so didn't hold out much hope). He told me to use the cream with a plaster, one night, then the acid on the alternative night for six weeks. I used it for about ten weeks because six weeks wasn't enough for me. Omg! I love that man, it's gone and I can walk, sleep and live a full life! Take my advice, go to your GP and suggest they give you this treatment! Anyone with a verruca has my deepest sympathy, good luck and best wishes for a verruca free existence. X





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How long does it take to get rid of a verruca?





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Hi my daughter had verrucas on both her feet,I used heavy duty duct tape covered them all the time( fresh bits put on daily). Eventually the verruca got pulled out including root then they healed up amazing took about 8 wks. Will definitely do this method again if she has them again. Hope this of help to you.

I will give you a massive tip you can use if you seek professional help, as your question cannot be answered due to the number of variable factors... If you phone a clinic and ask if they treat verrucae and then ask "How many treatments will I need" you will get a response that says something along the lines of "Well, it depends on the type, size, location, your age, your health..." etc. In fact the short answer is simply "We don't know any individual is going to respond to treatment". However, if you think about it, you (the patient reading this comment) know already that this is true - medical people cannot predict what your response is going to be to treatment - you just don't know the right question! The better question to ask is "How many verruca patients have you treated in the last 2years/5years?" - which shows experience - and then ask "How many treatments, on average, did your patients need to resolve their verrucae?". Clinics, surgeries, professionals may not know how any individual will respond, but they do know, or should know, how good they are overall, and you can now easily ask to find that out! This will help you make meaningful comparisons between the effectiveness of different treatments or clinics. Easy, isn't it? ;)

My daughter has a verruca which we believe she caught at school as they must do p.e. In bare feet. As it is painful I have asked she do p.e. in pumps. School have stated they continue to do p.e. In bare feet so that my daughter and other children can become immune. Can children become immune the more they catch?





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It's true, you can over time develop an immunity to the virus that causes verrucas, and that's why they are more common in children than they are adults! Verrucas generally heal on their own, though in some cases they can be a pain to shift as the virus responsible has a clever way of avoiding the immune system, in which case there are a number of treatments available for getting rid of the little pest. A reoccurring verruca or a verruca which is stubborn to treatments may be the telltale sign to an underlying medical condition such as weakened immune system or a deficiency, so if it isn't going, definitely see a doctor.

Having worked with patients with HIV who have severe immunological problems I can quite reassure readers that a stubborn or recurring verruca is highly unlikely to be a sign of underlying disease. The patients I treated would be fearful that the prescence of the verruca was a sign that their immune system was going into meltdown (rather that the fact that they go swimming and don't wear flip-flops) and that the stubborn nature of the verrucae meant they should prepare for doom (rather than the fact that verrucae are generally stubborn!). I've given a lot of reassurance in my time, and a lot of treatment to this problem. Are they stubborn? No doubt. Are they a sign of a weakened immune system? Realistically, no. If your child sadly has a serious immunological problem you can bet that a recurring or stubborn verruca is unlikely to be the first you know about it.

When i was a child i had very bad verrucas on the ball of my foot,what worked for me was a caustic pencil i don,t know if they make them anymore but basically it looked like a felt tip pen that you just rubbed into the middle of wart,i have also heard that banana peel works,by cutting a bit off and placing it with the white fleshy side on the verruca and duct tape over the top,you have to stop the air getting to it as the wart needs air to survive





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Quite an interesting theory you have! The use of duct tape and banana peels are old wives tales, and in fact the wart does not need air to survive at all. Viruses (the cause of the wart) don't even breathe! Caustic pencils however do work for some people, and are definitely a treatment that can be used in case of stubborn warts and verrucas.

I used the banana skin on my daughters stubborn verrucas & they turned the veruccas black and after a week of taping banana skin on to the veruccas morning & night they came out when picked with no pain. I had tried everything on the market for years prior to this. My friend who's a nurse was surprised & said it was possibly the acid in the banana skin that did the trick

I can quite assure readers that Duct Tape and Banana Skin are indeed mildly effective in the treatment of warts and verruca. I was working in the local health service that did the study! Lol! It's the inside of the banana skins that's used and it's suggested that it may contain an enzyme that breaks down some of the verruca tissue exposing the virus to the body's immune system. The caustic pencil referred to is likely to be Silver Nitrate and may be available over the counter, and it will probably come with instructions, or these can do doubt be easily found on the web.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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