Eamonn Brady is a pharmacist and the owner of Whelehans Pharmacy, Pearse St and Clonmore Mullingar. If you have any health questions e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a continuation of last week’s article on verrucas.
Can verrucas be cured?
Yes, but no single treatment can be guaranteed to be effective in every case. The highest cure rates are in young people who have not had their warts for very long. However, most verrucas will go away by themselves in due course, so it is very reasonable to leave them alone if they are not causing trouble.
Some of the more commonly used treatments
Over the counter treatments. A variety of creams, gels, paints and medicated plasters are available from pharmacies. Most of these contain chemicals such as salicylic acid or formaldehyde as their active ingredient and can take up to 3 months of continuous treatment to get rid of warts (eg) Duofilm®, Salactol®. Diabetics and people which poor circulation and peripheral nerve problems should not use these products without consulting a health professional as they can cause skin irritation in vulnerable patients.
Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy involves freezing the warts with liquid nitrogen, using either a cotton wool bud or a spray; your Chiropodist can do this. If the wart is particularly thick, he/she may pare it down before freezing it. Cryotherapy is, ideally, repeated every two to four weeks until the verruca disappears. It can be slightly painful and may lead to blistering afterwards, and so it may not be suggested by your Chiropodist for small children.
Removal under a local anaesthetic. If verrucas do not clear with the treatments described above, removal under a local anaesthetic may be considered; your Chiropodist will advise you and may refer you to see a consultant. The usual technique is to scrape the plantar wart away using a sharpened spoon-like instrument (a curette), and then to cauterize the remaining raw area. However, all surgical procedures leave scars and these may be painful on the sole. Furthermore, the wart may recur.
What can I do?
If you have a verruca:
- Speak to your pharmacist or chiropodist.
- Never try to cut it out or burn it off yourself.
- Wear comfortable shoes that do not press on it.
- Do not share shoes or socks with anyone else.
- Special pads to relieve pressure on plantar warts can be bought at a pharmacy.
- Keep your feet clean and dry, and change socks daily.
- Do not go barefoot in public places. Plantar warts should be covered with waterproof plasters or rubber ‘verruca socks’ if you go swimming.
- Do not pick at your verrucas.
- Sanding with sand paper or emery board will also have living wart virus on it, and so do not use it for any other purpose, or you may spread the virus. Take care not to damage the surrounding skin, as doing so might result in the warts spreading.
- If you have children, check their feet periodically for viral warts.
Chiropodist James Pedley has a twice weekly chiropody clinic on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Whelehans Pearse St Mullingar. We offer reduced rate on Tuesdays for over 60s of €25. Call 04493 34591 to book a chiropody appointment.
For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to www.whelehans.ie or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). Find us on Facebook.