Verruca or plantar warts are hyperkeratotic lesions found particularly over the pressure areas of the feet (heel and ball), and are caused by the human papilloma virus.  They affect epithelial cells causing small rough papules. Replication of the virus within the epithelial cells causes a proliferative reaction and formation of plaque or papule. Incubation is variable, ranging from 1 month up to 2 years.

  • They are spread by person-to-person contact
  • Use of communal showers is associated with higher rates of verruca
  • Infection is more likely if skin is macerated
  • Scratching, nail-biting, finger-sucking and shaving all encourage auto-inoculation of viral verucca and warts
  • They should not be used as a reason to stop children swimming, they may be covered (with waterproof plasters or socks)


There is no evidence that using Verruca socks prevents spread and the possible stigmatising effect of wearing such socks suggests use should be discouraged.  Suggestions for reducing spread include:

  • Cover it with a waterproof plaster when swimming
  • Wear flip-flops in communal areas and showers
  • Avoid sharing shoes, socks or towels
  • Limit auto-inoculation by avoiding trauma (scratching and biting), keeping feet dry and changing socks daily

Verruca (plantar wart)

Verrucas are small warts (1 to 10mm wide) that occur on the soles of your feet, heels or toes. They can be painful when under pressure. They have a rough surface and small black dots can sometimes be seen under the hard skin. Verrucas can be seen alone or in clusters.

 Common wart (verruca vulgaris)

These are firm, raised, pink or skin-coloured lumps with a rough surface that may look like a cauliflower. They are often seen alone or in clumps on your hands, fingers, elbows, knees or feet.

If your child has a Verruca, he or she can still take part in swimming and physical education lessons, but he or she shouldn’t have bare feet and the Verruca should be covered with a plaster.

For help, advice or to book an appointment please call.


Contact me to book an appointment – Joanne McDonnell – MCFHP MAFHP VTCT Dip.
Phone:        07866 785300