How to Get Rid of Verrucas: Treatments and Prevention Strategies

Verrucas, also known as plantar warts, are a common skin concern that can cause discomfort and embarrassment for many. These small, often painful lumps on the skin are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and typically appear on the soles of the feet. While verrucas are generally harmless, they can be stubborn to treat and may spread if left unchecked. This comprehensive guide is dedicated to answering your key question: “how to get rid of verrucas.” We explore everything from their causes and symptoms to a range of effective treatment options. Whether you’re considering professional medical treatments, over-the-counter remedies, or natural home solutions, this article aims to provide you with all the information you need to tackle verrucas head-on.

For a detailed understanding of verrucas and their general characteristics, the NHS website offers valuable insights.

1: Understanding Verrucas

Verrucas, or plantar warts, are more than just unsightly skin growths; they’re a manifestation of the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Typically found on the bottom of the feet, these small lumps can be both uncomfortable and persistent.

  • Causes: Verrucas are primarily caused by certain strains of HPV, often contracted in damp environments like swimming pools or communal changing areas.
  • Symptoms: Identifying verrucas is key to effective treatment. They often appear as firm, flat lumps with tiny black dots under the hard skin, and can be itchy or painful.

Detailed Look at Verruca Causes

The HPV virus responsible for verrucas thrives in warm, moist environments. This makes public pools, showers, and locker rooms hotspots for transmission. Walking barefoot in these areas significantly increases the risk of contracting verrucas. The virus enters through small cuts or breaks in the skin, often unnoticed, leading to the development of verrucas.

Symptoms and Identification

Verrucas can be mistaken for corns or calluses due to their hard, flat appearance. However, key distinguishing features include the presence of tiny black dots (clotted blood vessels) and their location primarily on the soles of the feet. They might cause discomfort or pain when walking or standing, and in some cases, can lead to changes in posture or gait to avoid pain, potentially causing leg or back pain.

2: Professional Treatment Options

When home remedies don’t suffice, professional medical treatments offer a more robust solution.

  • Cryotherapy: A common method involving liquid nitrogen to freeze verrucas, potentially leading to blistering or scarring.
  • Specialist Treatments: For stubborn cases, a dermatologist may recommend minor surgery, laser therapy, or stronger creams.

Consulting a podiatrist can also provide targeted treatments like the Verrutop solution or needling techniques.

Cryotherapy in Detail

Cryotherapy involves applying liquid nitrogen to the verruca, freezing the tissue and causing it to fall off. This treatment can be uncomfortable and may require multiple sessions. It’s effective for many, but not all, with some verrucas requiring more aggressive treatment.

Exploring Specialist Treatments

In cases where verrucas are particularly large, painful, or persistent, a dermatologist might suggest more intensive treatments. These can include laser therapy, which uses concentrated light to destroy the verruca tissue, or minor surgical procedures to cut away the verruca. These methods are more invasive and may require local anesthesia.

3: Over-the-Counter Remedies

For those preferring self-care, various over-the-counter options are available:

  • Salicylic Acid: These products work by dissolving the verruca’s outer layers, aiding in removal.
  • Freezing Treatments: Home kits using substances like dimethyl ether propane offer a DIY cryotherapy solution.

Salicylic Acid Products

Salicylic acid treatments come in various forms, including liquids, gels, and adhesive pads. They work by softening the keratin structure of the verruca, allowing it to be gradually peeled away. This method requires consistent application over several weeks and is most effective when the verruca is soaked and filed down before each treatment.

Home Freezing Kits

Similar to professional cryotherapy, these kits use a cold spray to freeze the verruca. While convenient, they are generally less powerful than the liquid nitrogen used in clinics and may be less effective for deep or resistant verrucas.

4: Natural and Home Remedies

Many turn to natural remedies for a gentler approach:

  • Tea Tree Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar: Known for their antiviral properties.
  • Garlic and Banana Peel: Traditional remedies believed to help in wart removal.
  • Duct Tape Method: A simple, non-invasive approach to suffocate the verruca.

The Power of Tea Tree Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar

Tea tree oil, with its natural antiseptic and antiviral properties, can be applied directly to the verruca, often diluted with a carrier oil. Apple cider vinegar, known for its acidic nature, is believed to help in breaking down the verruca tissue. Both remedies require regular application and patience for results.

Garlic and Banana Peel: Old Remedies with New Interest

Garlic, with its antiviral properties, can be crushed and applied to the verruca, covered with a bandage overnight. Similarly, the inside of a banana peel, rich in potassium, is believed to help in dissolving the verruca. These methods are anecdotal but have been popular for their ease of use and natural approach.

Duct Tape: The Surprising Verruca Fighter

The duct tape method involves covering the verruca with a piece of duct tape for several days, then soaking and gently scraping the area. This method is thought to irritate the verruca, stimulating the body’s immune response to fight off the virus.

5: Preventing Verrucas

Prevention is often easier than treatment:

  • Hygiene Practices: Keeping feet clean and dry, especially in public areas.
  • Protective Footwear: Using flip-flops in communal showers can reduce risk.
  • Avoid Sharing Personal Items: Such as towels and socks, to prevent spread.

Hygiene and Protective Measures

Maintaining good foot hygiene is crucial in preventing verrucas. This includes washing feet regularly, thoroughly drying them, and avoiding walking barefoot in public areas. Wearing protective footwear like flip-flops in communal showers and pool areas can significantly reduce the risk of contracting the HPV virus.

Avoiding Contamination

Verrucas are contagious, so avoiding direct contact with them is important. This includes not sharing towels, socks, or shoes with someone who has a verruca. Additionally, covering your verrucas with waterproof plasters while swimming can help prevent spreading the

virus to others.

6: When to See a Doctor

It’s crucial to seek medical advice in certain scenarios:

  • Persistent Verrucas: If over-the-counter and home remedies fail.
  • Uncertain Diagnosis: To rule out other skin conditions.
  • Genital Warts: Require treatment at a sexual health or GUM clinic.

Knowing When to Consult a Professional

While many verrucas can be treated at home, some cases require professional medical attention. This is particularly important if the verruca is causing significant pain, has changed in appearance, or is not responding to treatments. A GP or dermatologist can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend more effective treatments.

Genital Warts: A Different Concern

It’s important to differentiate between verrucas on the feet and genital warts, which are also caused by HPV but require different treatment. Genital warts should be treated at a specialized sexual health clinic, where other infections can also be checked for.

7: Myths and Misconceptions

Debunking common myths about verrucas is essential for proper understanding and treatment.

Common Misconceptions

There are many myths surrounding verrucas, such as the belief that they can be cured instantly or that they always signify poor hygiene. Understanding the nature of verrucas and the fact that they are a common viral infection can help in approaching treatment more effectively.


Verrucas, while common, can be effectively managed with the right approach. From professional treatments to home remedies, there are multiple paths to relief. Remember, for persistent or problematic verrucas, professional medical advice is always recommended.

Add Comment

London Updates

Get in touch

London UPDATES is an innovative UK-based digital news platform dedicated to providing up-to-the-minute coverage on cutting-edge technology, finance and business, breakthroughs in science, captivating space exploration, and crucial health updates.