What Is A Verruca?

What is a verruca?

This page was last updated on 1 May 2022

What Is A Verruca In 2022?

A verruca is also known as a wart. It is a viral skin infection of the top layer of the skin caused by certain strains of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). What are the symptoms of verruca?

They often look like small skin-coloured or greyish swellings with a rough surface, caused by tiny lumps. They can occur on any part of the body but are most common on hands and feet. The size of these warts varies from person to person; some may be barely visible whereas others can become quite large (several centimetres in diameter). Some flat warts may not cause discomfort whereas others can be very itchy, causing pain when they rub against something (e.g. shoes). Sometimes verrucas can bleed after scratching or if injured.

What causes warts?

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only a few strains cause common warts. These are spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected area. A person is contagious even if they don’t have any visible signs or symptoms of a viral infection.

Verrucas are caused by the same strains of HPV that cause warts, but these specific strains seem to favour growing on areas with high pressure – for example, between your toes. Because there’s no way to avoid coming into contact with HPV except by staying away from other people entirely, it’s pretty much impossible to prevent yourself from getting them at some point in your life.

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What are the warning signs of a verruca?

Verrucas are tiny, hard bumps that form on the bottom of your foot. They can be painless at first, but they can also cause discomfort when you walk. They often appear as little brown or black dots on your foot. Then they become larger and rougher in texture before growing to a considerable size and taking on a greyish-yellow colour.

How to stop warts and verrucas from spreading

Warts and verrucas are caused by a virus. They may be spread from contaminated surfaces or through skin contact. If your skin is wet or damaged, you’re more likely to pass on a wart or verruca. It might take months for a wart or verruca to develop after coming into contact with the virus.

Types of warts and verrucas

There are many different types of warts and verrucas.  Some examples of this are :

Common warts

These are the most common type of wart. They usually appear on hands and fingers, but can also develop in other parts of the body. People often refer to this type as a “seed” or a “corn”.

Flat warts

This is the second most common type of wart. It’s likely to appear on your face, shins or arms and legs (but it can grow anywhere on the body). About 1 in 10 children will get flat warts at some point. Flat warts may be inherited (passed down through families) and tend to run in families with a history of skin disorders such as eczema.

Genital warts

Genital warts (also known as venereal warts) are common in sexually active people. They’re caused by certain strains of HPV (human papillomavirus), a common virus spread through skin contact during sex. Genital warts are very contagious and can be passed on at any time, even when there are no signs or symptoms.

Plantar warts

These tend to form on the soles of your feet and are often painless, so you may not realise you have one until it starts to grow. Plantar warts occur more commonly in children, but anyone who spends time barefoot in public spaces such as swimming pools or gyms is at risk of developing them.

verruca or corn

Verruca plantar wart

This is the most common type of plantar wart. It usually develops on your feet, but it can also affect your hands.

Common warts are small, rough growths that often look like a cauliflower or solid blister on the skin. They are caused by certain strains of HPV (human papillomavirus) and can appear anywhere on any person’s body at any time. Because they are so contagious, treating warts is typically handled in multiple steps to avoid spreading them further on your own body. Because these are so common, there are many over-the-counter treatments available to remove them without the need for a doctor’s care or prescription medicines.

A verruca is also known as a wart. It is a viral skin infection of the top layer of the skin caused by certain strains of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).

Butcher’s wart

A butcher’s wart is a cutaneous horn. It is a clinical sign seen in cases of Butcher’s wart which is caused by the Human papillomavirus or HPV, which can be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person.

The virus infects the outer layer of skin on your hands and feet called the epidermis. The virus spreads to nearby skin cells, which are called keratinocytes, causing them to grow abnormally. This leads to overgrowth of cells that become raised lesions that look like pebbles or warts.

Mosaic wart

Mosaic warts are a sign of  Human Papillomavirus type 2 (HPV-2), which is different from HPV-1 that causes common warts. Mosaic warts appear in patches and tend to grow around the fingernails or toenails, on the bottom of the feet, or on the genitals.

what is a verruca

Symptoms of warts and verrucas

Typical symptoms of warts and verrucas include:

– Clear or whitish coloured bumps on the skin. They can be as small as a pinprick or as big as a pencil eraser.

– Skin that’s rough, dry and scaly around the wart, which may bleed if you scratch it.

– Coloured skin around the wart – common colours are brown, black or pink. Usually the colour is darker than the surrounding skin. It can also be lighter or deeper in colour than that of your normal skin tone.

– Warts are often painless at first but they may feel hard to touch and their surface feels like rough grainy skin when you run your finger over it

– Plantar warts cause pressure on the soles of your feet which can be painful if left untreated for a long time

Wart and verruca removal

The best way to remove wart or verruca is to visit a doctor or dermatologist. They may be frozen, burnt off or scraped away with a curette (a wire loop on the end of a handle). It can take weeks to years for treated warts and verrucas to disappear completely. Even after they’ve been treated, it’s still possible for them to come back.

Wart and verruca prevention

As this is a virus-based infection, the only way to prevent its spread is by practising good hygiene and avoiding skin contact with affected areas. If you have flat warts, avoid shaving over the area as this will cause further irritation and warts may grow back thicker than before. Avoid picking wart that has some external covering such as blood vessels or skin tissue

Treatment of warts and verrucas

Warts and verrucas can be treated in the following ways:

  1. Removal by a doctor or dermatologist (freezing, burning or scraping away)
  2. Over-the-counter treatments such as salicylic acid pastes and liquids, duct tape and chemical peelings
  3. Compound wart remover  (doctors prescription medication which will be used to dissolve cutaneous structure of the lesion.)
  4. Prevent them from spreading by practising good hygiene and avoiding skin contact with affected areas
  5. Wear proper footwear especially when walking on public floors such as swimming pools, gyms etc…

Verruca or Corn? Spot the difference

The difference between a verruca and corn is a verruca that is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) whereas corn develops on dry or damaged skin and not on healthy skin. A corn can be painful or painless, but verrucas are always painless.

Verrucas and corns may look like warts, but they’re different – corns develop on dry skin whereas verrucas don’t need any particular conditions to grow; planters warts will often grow on the soles of feet which can be painful if left untreated for too long; both types of wart tend to grow inward instead of outward, so they usually don’t have an opening through which fluid can come out.

Are warts contagious?

Yes, warts – especially plantar warts – are contagious and can be easily passed from one person to the other. If you have warts, it’s important to let people around you know so they don’t think you’re hiding anything from them.

The virus can also spread if you:

– Come into contact with warts and verrucas through shared towels, clothes and footwear. This is especially true for people who have diabetes or a weakened immune system

– Touch your face after touching any part of your body that has warts or verrucas without washing your hands first

– Share items such as combs, tweezers and acrylic nail clippers with someone who has warts on their fingers Warts are usually painless, but they can itch. If you’ve got lots of them or one very large wart (known as a giant wart), it’s likely to be sore too: plantar warts tend to grow inward instead of outward, so they usually don’t have an opening through which fluid can come out.

what are verrucas

What is the treatment for warts and verrucas?

There are several ways to treat warts or verrucas, with varying levels of effectiveness depending on the type of wart/verruca you have.  You can try over-the-counter verruca treatments such as salicylic acid pastes and liquids, duct tape and chemical peelings, but if these don’t work you should always see a doctor. The recommended verruca treatment depends on the location and type of wart/verruca.

Plantar warts

Plantar warts appear on parts of your feet that put pressure on them when walking (for example, between your toes). The best way to remove these is with a chemical called salicylic acid, which you can buy from pharmacies without a prescription. Salicylic acid dissolves the wart so it falls off after two weeks or so. You can also try freezing them with liquid nitrogen or using a pumice stone to rub the dead skin away.

Flat warts

Flat warts appear on your face, neck and body but are not caused by HPV. They’re a very common wart in children between three and 10 years old, but adults who’ve never had any warts before may get them too. They tend to clear up on their own within six months, but you can speed up healing by applying over-the-counter treatments such as salicylic acid pastes/liquids or using an over-the-counter remedy such as WartOff

Common warts

These appear on your hands and feet but can spread elsewhere. They’re caused by HPV, so they’re contagious and there’s no way to avoid getting them except by staying away from other people. As well as removing the wart with a medicine such as salicylic acid, you’ll need to treat the area around it in order to kill off any virus particles left behind.

Fingers and toes

You can treat warts and verrucas on fingers and toes using the same treatments mentioned in ‘common warts’. The difference is that you’ll need to use nail scissors or clippers to cut away dead skin around the edge of each wart/verruca you want to remove. The area will bleed if you cut too close, so make sure the scissors are new or sterilise them by dipping them in alcohol before cutting.

How do you get a verruca?

The most common way is to come into contact with HPV, the virus that causes verrucas. This is a common sexually transmitted infection, which you can only get if you have sex or touch a wart or verruca on someone else’s genitals.

It’s also possible to catch warts and verrucas from using shared towels, clothes and footwear.

Are verruca’s harmful?

Because verrucas are painless and non-harmful, most people don’t experience any issues with them. Verrucas might occasionally be unpleasant, especially if you have a significant plantar wart or have many warts on your feet.

How common are verrucas?

Verrucas are relatively common – in fact, about one in five people in the UK have a verruca at some point

What is a viral wart?

A viral wart is a wart that is caused by a virus called HPV (Human papillomavirus). Viral warts usually look like rough bumps and can be yellow-grey in colour. They may also itch

Non viral wart:  A non-viral wart which usually appears when the skin has been damaged such as when you cut, burn or pick at your skin or due to exposure to certain chemicals such as arsenic, cobalt and chromium.

How to remove a verruca root

you can try over-the-counter treatments such as salicylic acid pastes and liquids, duct tape and chemical peelings. you can also try freezing them with liquid nitrogen or using a pumice stone to rub the dead skin away. If these don’t work you should always see a doctor. The recommended treatment depends on the location and type of wart/verruca.

Plantar warts appear on parts of your feet that put pressure on them when walking (for example, between your toes). The best way to remove these is with a chemical called salicylic acid, which you can buy from pharmacies without a prescription. Salicylic acid dissolves the wart so it falls off.

Article author

James Lloyd

I am the primary writer and author for Help and Advice, having originally helped start the site because I recognised that there was a need for easy to read, free and comprehensive information on the web. I have been able to use my background in finance to produce a number of articles for the site, as well as develop the financial fitness assessment tool. This is a tool that provides you with practical advice on improving your personal financial health.

Outside of work I am a keen rugby player and used to play up to a semi-professional level before the years of injury finally took their toll.  Now you are more likely to see me in the clubhouse enjoying the game.

Email – james@helpandadvice.co.uk

Linked in – Connect with me 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a verruca?

A verruca is also known as a wart. It is a viral skin infection of the top layer of the skin caused by certain strains of HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).

What causes warts?

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 types of HPV, but only a few strains cause common warts.

What are the warning signs of a verruca?

Verrucas are tiny, hard bumps that form on the bottom of your foot. They can be painless at first, but they can also cause discomfort when you walk.

What is the treatment for warts and verrucas?

There are several ways to treat warts or verrucas, with varying levels of effectiveness depending on the type of wart/verruca you have.

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