Verruca Treatment

Fed up with that Verruca?



A verruca is a very common foot complaint and is essentially a wart which develops on the foot.  Though usually painless, they can often be uncomfortable if on an area of pressure on the foot. Traditional treatments have involved causing a breakdown of the skin cells that contain the virus, removing the damaged tissue, and then allowing the area to heal. These treatments can often be painful and protracted.



Verruca can vary in appearance, but often take up a ‘cauliflower’ type shape.  They usually appear as a plaque of hard skin, with an irregular border and can have black dots (blood vessels) scattered throughout.  They can be on the soles of the feet or on the toes.


Verrucas are caused by the Human-Papilloma Virus (HPV).  There are over 100 different strains of this virus, and a few strains are thought to cause verruca. The virus usually enters the body through skin-to-skin contact and lives in the outer layer (epidermis).  Since the virus does not enter the bloodstream, the body often finds it difficult to recognise that a verruca is present and the immune system fails to attack it. This can make verruca difficult to treat.


It is suggested that verruca disappear on their own, however this time scale can vary from one person to another. Although there is no ‘wonder’ cure, traditional treatments available generally aim to cause a breakdown in the skin to enable removal of the infected tissue.

  • Home treatments– Many different treatments are available for use at home such as mild concentrations of salicylic acid creams & gels which are usually between 10% – 26% acid.  These are often a good first line of treatment and can be particularly effective in children. Salicylic acid softens the skin cells that contain the verruca virus making them easier to remove.


  • Verruca treated with acid

    Salicylic acid– In our clinic we use a 60 or 70 % acid paste (dependant on age).  This is applied using a pad on the foot which is kept on and dry for at least 5 days.  The salicylic acid softens and breaks down the cells. This process is repeated every 2 weeks until the verruca is eliminated. In our experience we find that the average number of treatments required is 8 – 10.

  • Cryotherapy (freezing)-The Verruca is frozen for 30 seconds 3 times at each appointment using a liquid cryogen.  This causes the cells containing the virus to swell and burst.  After treatment a blister appears. The process is repeated every 3 weeks until the verruca is gone. Again our experience is that an average of  8 to 10 treatments will be required.


  • Silver nitrate – This is applied to the verruca, causing a black plaque to appear due to the silver nitrate oxidising with the air.  It causes a thin layer of skin to be cauterised and therefore kills those cells that it comes into contact with.  Although much less uncomfortable than the other methods, this treatment does not penetrate as deep.


  • SWIFT Microwave treatment – This is the latest product on the market.  It uses microwave technology treatment to agitate the fluid in the cells that contain the virus. This promotes the release of heat proteins, which pass into the blood stream and initiates an immune reaction. This causes your body to fight the virus and is a completely different way of tackling the verruca, from the traditional methods, discussed above, that merely cause a breakdown.

It should be noted that the Forest Foot & Health Clinic specialise in verruca treatment with over 23 years of experience.  However no verruca treatment is guaranteed to work in a timely manner and sadly all treatments are painful.