How to get rid of a child’s verruca

A verruca on a foot

Are you struggling to get rid of your child’s verruca? Verrucae and warts are caused by the Human Papoiloma virus (HPV) with 3-5 main strains causing verrucae. Most children will develop a verruca or wart during their younger years. This can be distressing for both the child and the parent.

How do you catch a verruca?

The virus is transmitted via floor to foot contact and visa versa. Walking barefoot on abrasive, non-slip tiles such as those in changing rooms and around swimming pools is enough to rub the surface of the skin allowing the virus entry into the skin. The virus then incubates for up to 6 months or longer, matures and there we have it, a verruca is born!

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that actually kills the HPV virus directly, all treatments act by trying to stimulate the body’s own immune system to fight the virus. The verruca virus is very sneaky. It only lives in the top layers of skin, so not near a blood supply, and cloaks its self with anti-inflammatory proteins, so cannot always be detected easily by the immune system.

Do I need to treat my child’s verruca?

Verrucae tend not to be painful for a child but if they are, or your child is self-conscious, it’s a parent's natural instinct to try and make it better. You may have tried over the counter products such as freezing, gels or tea tree oil (which is a whole other conversation) and nothing has worked, and it may have even spread.

As a Podiatrist and a mum, I understand that you feel you need to treat the verruca as they can look ugly and can be contagious. But before you run off to the shops to buy something to treat it with, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1 - Is it painful a lot of the time?

2 - Is it causing emotional stress for your child?

3 - Has it been there for more than 2 years, causing pain or distress?

If you answered NO to questions 1 and 2 then leave alone. Most verrucae in children spontaneously resolve in 2 years. A tincture of time is a very good treatment.

If you answered YES to question 3, then you have good grounds to try a treatment.

What treatment is best to use?

Book an appointment and let us have a look. Sometimes it’s the hard skin that forms over the verruca that causes the pain. This is easily reduced down and can be then kept soft. We can discuss the different treatments and the pros and cons of each.

We have various treatment options available in clinic, and we can advise which would be most suitable for each patient.