The rise of the adult verruca – and why you should never self-treat them

The adult verruca is on the rise and – as many NHS trusts do not offer treatment for a verruca – many people are now seeking self- or home-remedies for verruca. Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic looks at the humble verruca, examines how bad they can become if untreated, and explores why it’s a terrible idea to self-treat them.

For years, the verruca was a condition that mainly affected children – wearing a verruca sock during a swimming lesson was a rite of passage for many.

However, the verruca is becoming more common amongst adults: the rise of gym culture and the increased numbers of adults taking part in team sports over the past 15 years, has also led to an increase in the number of verrucae.

What is a verruca?

Often known as a wart on the sole of the foot, the verruca is caused by exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can infect sore or broken skin on the foot.

They are associated with swimming pools because the virus thrives in humid conditions, and it can survive without a host for months on the floor of a swimming pool or changing room.

Symptoms can range from a small, hard circle of skin, sometimes tiny or sometimes up to the size of a 20p piece. In worst cases, a cluster of verrucae can form. They can often be mistaken for corns and quite often they need to be pared down with a scalpel to make a correct diagnosis.  There are many health conditions that can cause a person to be susceptible to verrucae and others that need to be taken into account when deciding on the best way to treat them.

Whether you are a sporting or non-sporting person, living with a verruca can be irritating, inconvenient and even painful, so we always recommend you get them treated.

Where can I get it treated?

Many NHS Trusts – Newcastle included – have stopped offering verruca treatment, which means the majority of patients need to seek a private specialist, such as Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic

We have a team of qualified podiatrists who specialise in routine foot care (or chiropody) who can help.

Can’t I just treat it at home?

Well, you can try… But we seriously don’t recommend it.  Many of the treatments that can be purchased from the Chemist contain Salicylic Acid which can make the symptoms worse, can spread the infection, and, worst of all, can also cause significant damage to the healthy skin around the infected area.

As with most ailments, a quick internet search will reveal a host of home remedies that you can try – such as applying duct tape to the verruca (seriously!) – but we really recommend you don’t do this.

It’s not a good idea to mess around when it comes to your feet. Because of the way we use them, the stress they come under every day and the amount of weight they carry, any problems with your feet can feel many times worse than equivalent problems on other parts of your body.

Newcastle Sports Injury Clinic treats verrucae for patients from all walks of life – it is usually a quick procedure and having it treated by a professional is infinitely preferable to trying it yourself.

Contact us today to book your appointment.