Medical Q&As

Verruca - prevention?

My son swims twice a week. Yesterday he complained of a sore on the sole of his foot which made it painful to walk. It\'s about the size of a 2 cent coin with a \'head\' in the middle. Could this be a verruca?

I think you are right. This certainly sounds like a verruca, which is also known as a plantar wart. Plantar warts are no different than common warts but because of their location they grow into the skin rather than extending outwards. They can be extremely painful because the tip of the wart can press against tiny nerves in the foot each time the foot strikes the ground while walking. Verrucas are caused by a viral infection of the skin so it is possible that your son could spread the virus next time he goes swimming. It is not necessary for him to abstain from swimming but there are a few basic precautionary measures that he should take. He should not walk barefoot in the communal changing areas nor should he walk barefoot around the perimeter of the swimming pool. He should wear flip-flops or swimming socks in those situations so that he is not shedding the virus and running the risk of spreading the infection to others. You can learn more about verrucas by reading our special feature on this subject, which can be accessed at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=1504.