8 Myths about treating Verrucas & Warts

Verrucas and warts are troublesome for so many people, and often we hear stories on why you are prone to getting them and how to treat them, however often these stories are old wives’ tales and perhaps not quite true. So today we are talking about 8 myths about treating verrucas and warts.

“Verrucas occur due to weakened immune system”

Verrucas DO NOT occur due to a weakened immune system. Instead, the virus cleverly creates its own immune resistance through the body’s cells.  This is why warts can be long standing and challenging to treat.  However, those individuals who are immunocompromised due to drug treatment such as chemotherapy will have an increased risk of all types of infection including HPV virus.

“You have to cut the root out to get rid of a verruca”

Verrucas DO NOT have a root and attempting to cut or scrape off a verruca can be dangerous and increase the risk of infection. This can also result in scarring or the spread of the verruca to neighbouring healthy skin.  Cutting a verruca is unlikely to cure the verruca as the virus occurs within the cells of tissue and can continue to replicate itself if any are still left behind.

“When you cure a verruca you’ll be immune to catching them in the future!”

This is partly true. All verruca treatments are aimed at stimulating an immune response in the body to attack the verruca virus (HPV), when the body is successful in achieving this, the body is more likely to recognise the same virus again in the future thus preventing a verruca from forming. However, as there are several strains of the verruca virus it may be possible to be infected with a different strain that the body has not previously been exposed to.

“Rubbing banana skins on a verruca is an effective treatment!”

There is absolutely no evidence to support that banana skins are effective against verrucas.

“Verrucas can be treated with duct tape”.

While there is some evidence to suggest that duct tape may be effective in treating verrucas, it is not a reliable or proven treatment method. It may be useful in softening the verruca and making it more comfortable and preventing spread to others.

“Verrucas will go away on their own.”

In children nearly all verrucas and warts are likely to spontaneously resolve without treatment within a year. However, in adults only 65% are likely to resolve within two years, after this the average time until resolution is 8 years. In people who are immunocompromised or taking medication that suppresses their immunity, verrucas and warts may persist for longer and be less responsive to treatment.

“Verrucas can be cured by natural remedies”.

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of natural remedies, such as garlic, tea tree oil or thuja ointment in the treatment of verrucas. While some people may find these remedies helpful, they are unlikely to have any therapeutic effect.

“Verrucas are caused by poor hygiene”.

Verrucas are caused by the HPV virus and can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, such as walking barefoot in communal areas or using contaminated towels. Practising good hygiene can help prevent the spread of verrucas, but it does not guarantee that a person will not develop them. Drying the feet thoroughly and wearing flip flops in communal areas can help prevent infection, as can keeping the skin barrier healthy through managing dry skin and fungal infections.

If you’re struggling to get rid of a verruca or wart then get expert advice and the most effective treatment from our Podiatrists. Contact us here.

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