• Pod Co Podiatry

Here warty warty warty! What to do with those pesky papillomas!

Hands up who has had a wart on their foot.

Just about every one of us has had a wart (a.k.a. papilloma or verruca if you’re from New Zealand) at some point in our lives. Those of us who have had the displeasure can attest to their stubborn nature and downright ugliness. So this month let’s find out what you need to do to avoid the suckers!

What are they? 

A verruca pedis is the name for a wart located on the foot and is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The virus infection is usually transmitted through direct contact, entering through tiny abrasions in the skin. 

They are commonly spread via communal activity, such as swimming pools, health clubs, and bathrooms. Though some types of warts can go away within a month or so, some of them can be painful and therefore require treatment. 

Because of the way they are spread you will normally find verrucae on the soles of the feet but also occasionally between the toes

How are they treated?

Treatments are aimed at addressing and easing symptoms and causing remission of the virus. However, once a person is infected, there is no evidence that any treatment eliminates the HPV infection. Therefore warts may recur after treatment because of activation of the dormant virus present in healthy skin close to the lesion.

The different treatment options include:

  • Scholl’s Wart Removal System (40% salicylic acid): Warts are treated every two to three days at home. 

  • Salicylic acid: Applied by the podiatrist and can also be purchased and applied at home in preparations such as Wart Off and Duofilm.

  • Cryotherapy (liquid nitrogen): This is often used by GPs as a way to kill the viral tissue by freezing.  It usually requires more than one treatment and is best done following removal of any overlying hard skin.

Any treatment you use has best results when used in conjunction with visits to your podiatrist who will remove any thick skin on and around the wart that will then increase the effectiveness.

Side effects of treatment may include:

  • Infection

  • Blistering

  • Discomfort /pain

  • Bleeding 


  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, especially at public swimming pools – take a pair of thongs with you

  • Avoid sharing footwear and socks

  • Avoid direct contact with warts on other parts of the body or on other people