Warts and verrucas

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Warts and verrucas

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​Warts and verrucas are benign lumps on the skin caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which usually they appear on hands and feet. Warts and verrucas will eventually disappear with time and there is no need to treat them.

You can have warts and verrucas at any age, but they are most common in young adults. Warts and verrucas are benign lumps on the skin and will eventually disappear as the body produces an antibody against the virus. They may take longer to resolve in adults, sometimes years. However, disturbances in the immune system and some medications can slow down or even stop the healing.​

Symptoms

​Warts and verrucas are rough, skin-coloured small lumps on the skin, usually on hands and feet, but they can appear almost anywhere on the body.  Verrucas are warts on the sole of your foot with hard, thickened skin around them, or a cluster of inward growing tiny warts covering a larger area. You may notice black pinpoints, which are actually small, clotted blood vessels in the warts. As warts and verrucas age, they may crack and be very painful, especially on the sole of your foot.

Self-care

​Warts and verrucas take their time to heal; you can wait for 1 to 2 years, and not necessarily try to treat them unless they are painful or a cosmetic issue. Pharmacies sell a wide range of wart and verruca products. Pharmacy staff will help you select th​e right product, if necessary.

The goal of wart and verruca treatments is to diminish the visible lump and initiate your body’s antibody production.​

The products for treating warts and verrucas soften the wart so that it is easier to remove any excess hard skin between treatments. Do not remove the wart or verruca by cutting it due to a risk of infection. Freeze sprays can speed up the healing of warts on the hands but are not effective for verrucas located on the soles of the feet.

The spreading of verrucas may be difficult to stop as their spreading mechanism or incubation period is not fully known. Verrucas may spread, if you scratch them or walk on bare foot in public spaces.​

When should you seek medical advice?

​You should seek medical advice, if

  • walking is uncomfortable because of the verruca(s) on the bottom of your foot.
  • warts in your hands are painful, or cosmetically inconvenient.
  • inconvenient warts and verrucas do not heal despite of self-care.​
  • ​you have a flare-up of numerous warts or verrucas in a short period of time.

More information

The producers of the instruction

​​​​​Emergency care professionals have produced the instruction in collaboration with Terveyskirjasto.​

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Updated