Tag Archives: verruca

A guide to verruca treatment

 

At Maidenhead Podiatry and Chiropractic Clinic we are asked about verrucas and verruca treatment so frequently that we have put this ‘Guide to Verruca Treatment’ together to help decide on your best treatment option.

Do I have a verruca?

Many of us have experienced a verruca, usually as a child, or know someone who has.

There are so many opportunities to acquire a verruca from a variety of communal floors such as hotels, swimming pools and the gym.

In a similar way to a parasite, the virus that causes a verruca needs a healthy cell to infect that it can modify without killing it. The virus is quite hardy and can not only survive for months on floors without a host but can survive desiccation and freezing.

Verrucas can’t be ‘removed’ (other than surgically). Your body’s immune system is capable of dealing with them – it just hasn’t – and all treatments hope to stimulate an immune response, allowing the correct antibodies to be produced for a successful resolution.

The virus ‘turns off’ the cellular immune cascade that is a normal response to viral infection, and our treatments aim to turn it back on.

Verrucae are warts.

When they occur on the feet we call them a verruca and when on the hands, we call them warts. They are caused by infection with one or more of the 150-strong family of human papillomaviruses.

They vary in size from a pin-head to covering whole areas of the foot.

The virus infects a cell in the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. Usually the fourth layer, the stratum spinosum, the virus often enters through a tiny scratch or abrasion.

This triggers a rapid growth of skin/verruca cells, forming a harmless lump.

They occur most commonly in children and young adults, likely because this age group spend a lot of time padding around with bare feet, although they can occur at any age.

If in doubt, ask your local Podiatrist.

How do they spread?

They are highly contagious and are transferred by skin-to-skin contact or by walking across the previously mentioned communal surfaces.

And as we don’t like imperfection on our bodies, an increasing number of adults are seeking treatment.

It is estimated that the verruca home treatment market is worth over £5 million a year – despite the fact that none of them work consistently.

Is it a verruca?

Warts on the underside of the foot will appear flat as weight bearing pushes them into the skin. On the top of the foot, or hands they will appear raised.

They may contain little black dots (but not always) which are tiny blood vessels and it is normal that when treated they will bleed. Squeezing them will also likely be painful.

Verrucae generally appear in two forms, a small single lesion with black dots within the central core, and the mosaic verruca, which is a more widespread infection, often affecting both feet and is characterised by clusters of verrucae.

Whichever you have, the treatment is the same.

What can I do?

The best treatment for most verrucae if they are not problematic is to leave them alone and given enough time they will go of their own accord.

They don’t often become painful and without treatment, verrucae usually disappear within two to 18 months as the immune system does its job although in rarer cases they can persist for over twenty years.

But if you have already had them for a number of years and you are experiencing pain from your verruca, they are spreading, or you simply want rid of it, read on.

How are they treated?

Treatments are based on either destroying the infected tissue (e.g. Bazuka, DuoFilm), locally acting poison (e.g. Gluterol) or stimulating an immune response (E.g. Swift, freezing, needling) and fall into – over the counter, old wives tales and professional.

Over the counter.

The over the counter, at-home chemical treatments such as DuoFilm or Bazuka contain salicylic acid which works by forcing moisture into the tissue disrupting viral cell function, and lactic acid, which breaks down the hard skin over the infection.

The active ingredient in Gluterol is Glutaraldehyde which is virucidal and so inactivates the wart virus. Once on the skin, it also acts as an anhidrotic, drying the warts and surrounding skin, thus reducing the spread of lesions.

Whichever one you choose, perseverance is the key as it can take months to work, during which time the verruca may go of its own accord anyway.

The strength of acid used in over the counter products is only up to 24%, but in a clinic, strengths of up to 70% can be used.

Before carrying out any treatment, remove the top layer of hard skin using a foot file to expose the verruca. Remember to wash or discard the file after every use.

Even so the success rate is variable.

Old wives tales.

Old wives tales suggest duct tape, banana and others each of which may work for some people but not others.

Some of the less conventional ideas do have science behind them, others not so much. Self resolution can suggest an unlikely remedy has worked.

Professional treatment.

A Podiatrist can use salicylic acid, cryosurgery, Swift and dry needling among others.

Cryosurgery or freezing undoubtedly can work but it needs to be done in a clinical environment by a podiatrist or a dermatologist as it involves temperatures down to -190oC depending on the medium used.

Swift uses microwaves to raise the temperature in the verruca stimulating a powerful immune response though heat stress reaction.

Dry needling pierces the verruca many times under local anaesthetic to stimulate an immune response. This is thought to work by inoculating the underlying tissue with the virus prompting an immune response.

Lasers can also be used to remove the verrucae by cauterising, but there is little evidence to show this works, and it can lead to scarring

Prevention is also a consideration.

Wear flip-flops in the gym, hotel room or swimming pool to reduce the risk of infection. Avoid walking barefoot on communal surfaces.

To prevent infecting other people cover the verruca with nail varnish or a plaster or wear socks.

If you would like more information on looking after your feet or managing verrucae, or an appointment with one of our Podiatrists at Maidenhead Podiatry and Chiropractic Clinic, call us on 01628 773588 or e-mail info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk.

Need help with your feet or back – use our search bar.

Use our search bar the find what you are looking for

Many people visit our website for help or information on Podiatry or Chiropractic.

Both Podiatrists and Chiropractors offer a range of treatments and skills to benefit their patients but sometimes all you need is to be informed.

Below we describe what Podiatry and Chiropractic are and explain many of the treatments and services we offer but if you know what you are looking for then use the search bar in the top right hand corner of the screen.

A large part of what we provide for patients is help, advice and education and this website contains information on definition, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions and all can be accessed through the search bar.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for something specific or just curious. Give it a go. Find what you are looking for in our education pages and previous blogs. Click on the search bar.

Podiatry

Podiatry is defined as the diagnosis and treatment of foot disorders; however, we assess, diagnose and treat from the knee down. We also treat warts on hands.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic is the management consists of a wide range of manipulative techniques designed to improve the function of joints, relieve pain and ease muscle spasm.

Chiropractors don’t only treat backs and can help with any soft-tissue or structural issues.

What is Podiatry?

Podiatry like many health care professions has general practitioners and specialists.

A general practitioner will treat anything from corns to verrucas and from plantar fasciitis or heel pain to ingrown toenails. We are all licenced to use local anaesthetic, perform minor surgeries such as ingrown nail removal and dispense antibiotics, if and where appropriate.

We provide vascular assessment and diabetic screening as a matter of course when requested or required. We have Podiatrists with special interests in areas such as diabetic care and biomechanical assessment and gait analysisGait analysis includes being filmed on a treadmill followed where appropriate by prescription of custom moulded orthotics together with an integrated exercise and rehabilitation program.

Seven Podiatrists and two Chiropractors trained in using the latest treatment and cutting-edge technology for a range of common conditions.

Cutting edge technology

Shockwave, which is a percussive mechanical treatment for chronic, or long-term, soft tissue pain such as heel pain, Achilles pain, hip pain and of course plantar fasciitis although it can be used anywhere in the body. It is used by both Podiatrists and Chiropractors

We were one of the first clinics in the country to use Swift, a microwave generator for the treatment of verrucas. We also offer salicylic acid, freezing and needling.

We offer all general foot care too including fungal nails, athlete’s foot, splits, fissures and infections. We also provide foot care in nursing and care homes as well as a domiciliary/home visiting service.

Contact us

Hopefully you have found what you are looking for but just in case you haven’t, give us a call on 01628 773588 and let us educate you. To find us follow the map and directions or put SL6 5FH into your sat nav.

We have our own free car park directly outside the clinic. Our premises are disabled friendly with no door thresholds and easy access throughout the ground floor. Let us know if you have any special requirements.

If you would like more information or to make an appointment give us a call on 01628 773588, and speak to one of our friendly receptionists or arrange a call back from one of our Podiatrists or Chiropractors.

And, we will of course cut your toenails too.

Swift - Effective micro-wave verruca and wart treatment

Ten things you need to know about Swift verruca treatment

Ten things you need to know about Swift verruca treatment.

  1. Swift verruca treatment is a new technology, developed in the UK, which has been licenced for the general treatment of verrucas and warts in Podiatry.

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Verruca is the Latin word for wart. There is no difference between a verruca and a wart and the terms are interchangeable usually depending on location.

There are approximately 150 different human papilloma viruses (HPV) some rare, others more common, causing warts on different parts of the body.

HPV have been with us for thousands of years and are highly adapted to human skin and mucosa.

Warts/verrucas may have many presentations and can appear on any epidermal surface.

They are generally transmitted via direct contact, but may also transmit indirectly, however, the virus will not affect tissues deeper than the basal (bottom) layer of the epidermis.

At Maidenhead Podiatry, our Podiatrists may treat warts/verrucas on the hands and feet.

  1. Swift verruca treatment uses microwave energy delivered through a special probe applied to the skin to treat the affected tissue.

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Microwaves work by generating heat in the wart/verruca, focused under the probe, to a maximum depth of 5mm.

Microwaves love water and when the electric field is applied, local water dipoles (H2O) try to align with field but lag slightly behind causing collision between molecules and therefore generating heat.

  1. Who can benefit from Swift verruca treatment?

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Almost anyone who has stubborn warts and verrucas can benefit from Swift.

There are contra-indications to Swift but outside these anyone who has warts/verrucas on their hands or feet can benefit.

Precautions

If any of the following apply to you, speak to your Podiatrist before treatment –

  • Metal pins, plates or replacement joints in the foot or ankle
  • Pacemaker
  • Neuropathy or poor peripheral circulation
  • Poor or limited healing capacity
  • Immune suppression
  • Pregnancy or breast feeding. It is known that verrucas and warts can increase in size during this period
  • Low pain threshold
  • Young children – treatment on children under ten years old may not be appropriate for a number of reasons which one of our Podiatrists will discuss with you during your consultation.
  1. Can anyone have Swift verruca treatment?

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With a few exceptions, (see above) most people with verrucas and warts should be able to have this treatment.

Your Podiatrist will carry out assessment prior to treatment and advise you accordingly.

Swift is suitable for most people with few exceptions, although the purpose and reason for a consultation prior to treatment is to identify anyone for who it may not be appropriate. One of our Podiatrists will discuss any concerns with you.

  1. What will the wart/verruca look like after it has been treated and how quickly will it work?

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Immediately after the treatment there will be no change to the appearance of the wart/verruca.

A change should start to show after a few days.

Swift works by prompting an immune response and time is needed for the process to gather pace.

That is why there is a gap of at least two weeks between treatments.

As regression is established the verruca will shrink in from the edges at the same time as reducing in thickness – or ‘debulking’.

The dermal ridges or ‘fingerprint’ of the underlying tissue will gradually re-establish itself as the verruca resolves.

A follow up visit will allow one of our Podiatrists to evaluate any changes and make a decision on whether or not you require another Swift application. 

  1. How many Swift verruca treatments will I need?

Case-Study-2.3

This depends on how you respond to treatment.

Some resolve within three treatments but more may be needed particularly with large or multiple lesions.

These can be from 14 days to over a month apart depending on progress. Your Podiatrist will discuss this with you.

When the virus enters the skin, some people’s immune systems immediately respond by producing antibodies and killing it dead. Others don’t and a verruca forms.

However, the necessary immune response can still happen at any time, and, days, weeks, months or years later, the verruca can suddenly disappear.

This is why your GP will tell you to leave it alone and it will go away in time.

Having a verruca does not mean there is anything wrong with your immune system.

Swift is designed to prompt that local immune response for the body to heal itself.

Swift treatment results in a degree of localised tissue damage prompting a healing response part of which is antibody recruitment.

It is also thought to stimulate heat stress protein production which is known to prompt a strong healing response.

Patients who are immune-suppressed are at risk of developing multiple, resistant lesions, which are difficult to treat. 

  1. How does Swift verruca treatment work?

Case-Study-1.3

Swift treatment consists of timed bursts of microwaves, usually up to five seconds.

Large and multiple sites can be treated during each appointment.

The microwaves are applied through a specialised applicator direct to the wart/verruca. Your Podiatrist may prepare the site by gently shaving off overlying dead skin with a scalpel.

Treatment is applied in timied bursts and can be applied to one or multiple sites with a short pause between each application. The number of sites to be treated can be discussed with one of our Podiatrists. 

  1. Does Swift verruca treatment hurt?

As with many treatments for skin lesions, some discomfort, even pain may be experienced during treatment.

Sensation varies from person to person but most people undergoing Swift describe it as similar to a prick with a needle although some may find it more painful.

Swift is applied for up to 5 seconds at a time and any discomfort usually lasts 1-2 seconds then quickly subside and disappear. 

In rare cases some minor discomfort or tingling may be experienced for 24hrs before dissipating completely.

  1. What can I do after Swift verruca treatment?

Normally any pain or discomfort ends as soon as the treatment is finished but it is possible there may be some minor discomfort.

However one of the great things about Swift is there is no broken skin, also no dressings and no need to keep it dry.

Therefore you can do anything you wish. Swim, shower, run, jump and play.

  1. Does using swift verruca treatment mean that the verruca won’t come back?

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Once the wart/verruca has gone, it is usually gone for good.

However, even though Swift works by prompting an immune response and production of the appropriate antibodies communicating a degree of immunity, there can never be a guarantee that you won’t catch another at some point in the future.

Swift is now in use at Maidenhead Podiatry.

For more detailed information on verrucas and other verruca treatment options in general click here and for (dry) needling click here.

If you would like more information on Swift in particular or verruca treatment options in general, to speak to one of our Podiatrists or to make an appointment please call 01628 773588 or e-mail Maidenhead Podiatry on info@maidenheadpodiatry.co.uk