Brightwell House , 40 Queens Road , Reading , RG1 4AU



Verrucae and warts

Verrucae are warts that that occur on the feet. They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) and there are many different strains. They may occur as single or multiple growths affecting the feet (and hands). Verrucae are one of the most common infections of the skin.

How do we catch them?

Sweaty feet may predispose you more to a verruca as the skin is softer and the PH (acidity/ alkalinity) level of the surface skin is altered. However, it is not fully understood why some people are more susceptible than others.

The latest research suggests that the HPV that causes verrucae lives on our skin in harmony with other bacteria and virus strains and that a lowering of our immune system with mild illness such as colds; flu; stress or poor diet, can allow the virus to take up residence. This has lead us to understand more easily why they can heal themselves and vanish when the immune system is ready to recognise the virus and destroy it.

The thinking that they may be caught by cross-infection from communal floor areas such as swimming pools and showers has fallen out of favour however; any lesion on the foot such as a blister or cut might increase the chances of infection as they provide an easier entry point for the virus.

People often worry about passing verrucae onto other members of their family but it is very unlikely, as previously explained HPV is everywhere and you are most likely to catch them because of a dip in your immune system rather than sharing showers or because the sufferer has walked around barefoot.


Some verrucae will disappear spontaneously with no treatment, but we are unable to know whether a particular verruca will disappear or multiply.

Treatment is recommended if:

  • If the lesion is growing in size
  • More lesions are appearing
  • The lesion has become painful
  • They are present more than 2 years
  • The patient is worried about spreading them to other members of the family
Swift Microwave emblation

This is a brand new technology which uses microwave energy, delivered through a special probe to treat the affected tissue. It works by rapidly raising the tissue temperature and creates precise, localised cell destruction. Heat shock proteins are released which are thought to stimulate the body’s immune response aiding the resolution of the verruccae.

For more information about how Swift works please follow the link to their home page:


Verrucae treatment involves the use of liquid nitrogen (which is held at a temperature of -196° C).

This freezes the lesion causing damage to the cells resulting in the body's own inflammation and healing to clear away the virus and therefore the Verucca. It can take several treatments to obtain resolution of a lesion. It is thought also to allow the immune system to develop a recognition of the virus so that the patient might fight it more easily next time it is present.

Cryo surgery can occasionally split the virus causing a larger lesion to form. It is worth noting this is a very rare complication of an otherwise useful treatment.

Brightwell Clinic does not recommend treatment under 11 years of age. Veruccae Pedis virus will resolve of its own accord when the body's own immunity is ready to deal with it.

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