AskDefine | Define verruca

Dictionary Definition

verruca n : (pathology) a firm abnormal elevated blemish on the skin; caused by a virus [syn: wart] [also: verrucae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From verruca.


  • (UK) /vəˈɹuːkə/, (RP) /vɛˈruːkə/


  1. A wart, especially one that grows on the foot, caused by a virus.
  2. A rounded projection or wart.





Cognate with Old Church Slavonic sc=Cyrl, Ancient Greek ἕρμα, Lithuanian viršus.


  1. a steep place, height
  2. A wart on the human body.
  3. An excrescence on precious stones.



Extensive Definition

A plantar wart (also verruca plantaris or verruca) is a wart caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) occurring on the sole or toes of the foot. (HPV infections in other locations are not plantar; see human papilloma virus.) Plantar warts are generally harmless and self-limiting, but should be treated to lessen symptoms (which may become painful), decrease duration, and reduce transmission.

Infection and development

It is estimated that 7-10% of the US population is infected. Infection typically occurs on moist walking surfaces such as showers, swimming pools, or shoes. The virus can survive many months without a host, making it highly contagious.
Plantar warts are benign epithelial tumors caused by infection by human papilloma virus types 1, 2, 4, or 63. These types are classified as clinical (visible symptoms). The virus attacks the skin through direct contact, entering through possibly tiny cuts and abrasions in the stratum corneum (outermost layer of skin). After infection, warts may not become visible for several weeks or months. Because of pressure on the sole of the foot, the wart is pushed inward and a layer of hard skin may form over the wart. A plantar wart may be painful.
Warts may spread through autoinoculation, by infecting nearby skin or by infecting walking surfaces. They may fuse or develop into clusters called mosaic warts.
Some treatments that have been found to be effective include:
Podiatrists and dermatologists are considered specialists in the treatment of plantar warts, though most warts are treated by primary care physicians.

Pharmaceutical Treatments

; Immunotherapy: Intralesional injection of antigens (mumps, candida or trichophytin antigens USP) is a new wart treatment which may trigger a host immune response to the wart virus, resulting in wart resolution. Distant, non-injected warts may also disappear.
As warts are contagious, precautions should be taken to avoid spreading.


  • Liquid nitrogen : Cryosurgery with liquid nitrogen. A common treatment that works by producing a blister under the wart. It is painful but usually nonscarring.
  • Electrodesiccation and surgical excision produce scarring. If the wart recurs, the patient has a permanent scar along with the wart.
  • Lasers may be effective, especially the 585nm pulsed dye laser which the most effective treatment of all, and does not leave scars, but is generally a last resort treatment as it is expensive and painful, and multiple laser treatments are required (generally 4-6 treatments repeated once a month until the wart disappears).


  • X-ray is an old method that is seldom recommended due to the long term adverse side effects of irradiation.
  • Duct tape occlusion therapy: The wart is kept covered with duct tape for six days, then soaked and debrided with a pumice stone. The process is repeated for 6 to 8 weeks. The efficacy of this method has recently been called into question.
  • Watchful waiting may be appropriate since many warts will eventually resolve due to the patient's own immune system. In many cases, the body will attack and kill the wart and verrucæ will turn black and effectively fall off, although it can be two years or longer before this takes place.

Relative effectiveness of treatments

A 2006 study assessed the effects of different local treatments for cutaneous, non-genital warts in healthy people. The study reviewed 60 randomized clinical trials dating up to March 2005. The main findings were:
  • overall there is a lack of evidence (many trials were excluded because of poor methodology and reporting).
  • the average cure rate using a placebo was 27% after an average period of 15 weeks.
  • the best treatments are those containing salicylic acid. They are clearly better than placebo.
  • there is surprisingly little evidence for the absolute efficacy of cryotherapy.
  • two trials comparing salicylic acid and cryotherapy showed no significant difference in efficacy.
  • one trial comparing salicylic acid and duct tape occlusion therapy showed no significant difference in efficacy.
  • evidence for the efficacy of the remaining treatments was limited.
verruca in Asturian: Úzara
verruca in Bulgarian: Мазол
verruca in Cebuano: Verrue
verruca in Czech: Bradavice
verruca in Danish: Vorte
verruca in German: Warze
verruca in Spanish: Verruga
verruca in French: Verrue
verruca in Korean: 사마귀 (피부병)
verruca in Italian: Verruca
verruca in Hebrew: יבלת עור
verruca in Hungarian: Szemölcs
verruca in Dutch: Wrat
verruca in Japanese: 鶏眼
verruca in Norwegian: Verruca vulgaris
verruca in Polish: Brodawka
verruca in Portuguese: Verruga
verruca in Quechua: Tikti
verruca in Russian: Бородавки
verruca in Simple English: Wart
verruca in Finnish: Syylä
verruca in Swedish: Vårta
verruca in Ukrainian: Бородавка
verruca in Vietnamese: Hột cơm
verruca in Walloon: Porea (maladeye)
verruca in Yiddish: אויסוואוקס
verruca in Chinese: 疣
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