Warts and Verrucas Uncovered: Effective Treatments and Prevention Tips

Our feet are often neglected, even though we spend so much time standing on them! Despite our feet being used from the moment we wake up, we usually overlook good foot care.

This article will discuss warts and verrucas and how best to manage them.

What are warts and verrucas?

Warts and verrucas are small, rough skin bumps which develop as thickened skin. Although warts and verrucas can develop anywhere on the body, they are most common on the knees, hands and feet.  

Although warts and verrucas are generally harmless and can heal over time, without treatment, they can look unaesthetically pleasing and cause feelings of social anxiety.

How can I develop warts and verrucas?

Warts and verrucas are caused by transmitting the human papillomavirus (HPV) through direct skin-to-skin contact or indirect contamination of commonly used areas (e.g. swimming pool floors, towels, etc). It is important to note that a wart or verruca can take over a year to develop from the moment of infection.

What’s the difference?

Warts - Small, rough, thickened bumps that can occur anywhere on the body.

Verrucas are warts that occur precisely on the soles of the feet, the heel, or the bottom of the big toe. They usually have a black dot in the centre and can occur in clusters.

Conclusion - All verrucas are warts, but not all warts are verrucas.

Did you know? Warts can come back, even after successful treatment.

Hygiene Measures to Manage Warts and Verrucas

  • If you have a wart or verruca on your fingers or hands, avoid biting your nails or putting your fingers into your mouth.
  • Avoid sharing towels, footwear and socks
  • Keep feet dry and adopt good footcare
  • Wash hands after touching a wart or verruca
  • Avoid walking barefoot in communal areas like swimming pools, spas, and public showers.
  • Dry out footwear and alternate between footwear. Change socks daily
  • Wear footwear which is not tight and does not rub
  • Avoid picking at or scratching warts and verrucas

When should I contact my GP?

  • Warts with hairs
  • Signs of an infection, e.g. swelling, fluid or heat at the site
  • If you have diabetes or are immunocompromised
  • A wart which is very large, painful or bleeds
  • A facial or anogenital wart
  • A wart that has changed appearance
  • If any condition involves weeping or bleeding
  • Other skin conditions or concerns
  • Moles or birthmarks

Over-the-counter treatment options

Salicylic Acid Products 

  • Scholl Verruca Removal System 40% Medicated Plasters (salicylic acid 40%)
  • Bazuka Extra Strength Gel (salicylic acid 26%)
  • Verrugon (salicylic acid 50%).

Silver Nitrate Products

  • Avoca

Freeze Therapy

  • Scholl Verucca and Wart Remover Freeze Treatment
  • Wartner Pen
  • Bazuka Sub-Zero


* Treatment can take weeks to be successful and requires regular use to see effective results

* Treatment does not prevent further occurrences of warts

Protecting surrounding skin

Before using wart and verruca treatment, it is essential to protect healthy surrounding skin to avoid burning and discolouration of the healthy skin.

To protect the healthy skin, petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or soft white paraffin can be applied around the wart or verruca to keep the product contained. Please be extremely careful when using wart or verruca treatment.

Where can I get more information?

Patient Info - Warts and Verrucas

The NHS website on Warts and Verrucas


College of Podiatry