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21 Sep 2016

What Is A Verruca And How Do I Treat It?

 If you’ve picked up a verruca on a recent visit to a swimming pool or perhaps in the gym changing area, you may be left wondering what it is exactly, how you’ve ended up with it, and of course, how you’re going to get rid of it!

The good news is that whilst they are annoying and unsightly, verrucas generally don’t cause too much discomfort and can be easily treated with over-the-counter medicines. Read on for the Rowlands Pharmacy guide to making your verruca vanish.

What is a verruca?

Typically found on the soles of the feet, a verruca is a type of wart that is flat in appearance rather than raised. The verruca itself may be white with a black dot (or several dots) in the centre, which are blood vessels.

This type of wart tends to be more commonly found on the feet of children and teens and if left alone should disappear over time. However, a verruca can cause pain and discomfort if it is put under pressure and can be passed on to others, which is why it’s advisable to treat them promptly.

What causes verrucas?

Like other warts, the verruca is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). It is spread by skin-to-skin contact and can also be contracted from contaminated surfaces.

It is more easily spread and caught when your skin is soft and wet or in contact with a rough surface, which is why catching a verruca is often associated with swimming pool visits or time spent in gym changing rooms. Scratches and cuts on the soles of your feet make you more vulnerable to picking up a verruca.

Can you still go swimming and training?

If you have a verruca it’s important to take precautions to try and avoid passing them on to other people. You can purchase a rubber verruca sock to wear when swimming which acts as a barrier, or cover your verruca with a water resistant plaster.

Wearing pool slippers or flip flops when you visit the pool and in shared changing areas is also a good habit to get into. You should not share towels, socks or shoes with anyone else if they (or you) have a verruca.


How do you treat verrucas?

Here at Rowlands Pharmacy we sell a range of over-the-counter wart and verruca treatments designed to shorten the life of your verruca. These take the form of creams, gels and sprays and include verruca treatments from trusted brands such as Bazuka, Scholl and Wartner.

The active ingredient in these products is salicylic acid, which works as a keratolytic therapy to treat the affected area. When using this type of treatment you should protect the skin around your verruca by applying petroleum jelly as a barrier or isolating the treatment area with plasters.


Salicylic acid verruca treatments are not suitable for people with diabetes. If you are diabetic and get a verruca or wart, we’d recommend that you visit your GP to seek advice about treatment and discuss the most suitable course of action.