The HPV-1 strain usually causes rather large verrucae; these can be quite painful if they are on a weight bearing area. HPV-2 strain verrucae, on the other hand, are referred to as "mosaic verrucae", as they appear scaly and overlapping and cover a large area.
Finally, there is the HPV-4 strain, which causes multiple, small circular lesions. Clearly, none of the strains are anything you would want to be suffering from.
Although verrucae can be annoying or unsightly, they actually don't usually cause noticeable problems. So, in many cases, no treatment is required, as they can self-resolve within a couple of years. In some instances, however, this does not happen, or the verrucae simply cause too much discomfort, and so patients require treatment in order to finally be rid of them.
Fortunately, there are today many verruca treatments available. Here, I am going to talk more about “verruca needling”, also known as “dry needling,” which has become very popular in recent years. Unlike most other treatments which require several courses of treatment, verruca needling usually needs only one (although, very occasionally, a follow up treatment can be required). It is therefore highly suitable for busy people or individuals who find it difficult to make repeat treatment visits to a clinic. It is also considered to be one of the most effective methods for getting rid of long lasting verrucae because it works by putting the immune system's white blood cells in contact with the virus (various research had suggested a 60 – 90% success rate).
The procedure is painless under local anaesthetic, with the podiatrist injecting the local anaesthetic at ankle level so that the foot will go numb before the needling. Once the foot is numb, the podiatrist will then use a needle to puncture as many as several hundred holes into the verruca. By doing this, the virus is pushed into deeper tissue through which blood vessels pass, therefore allowing your immune system to recognise the virus and initiate your natural immune response. If there is more than one verruca, only one lesion (either the primary one or largest one) needs to be treated as the initial immune response to the primary verruca will also destroy the others.
Following the procedure, you will only need a simple dressing and to minimise weight bearing for a day. No further dressings are usually needed after that; you can simply go home, shower and return to normal life. You will also be offered two follow-up appointments to check the healing process, the first of which would usually take place one week after the procedure and the second eight weeks after the procedure.
So, if you have been suffering with verrucae and you haven't tried needling, this could be just the treatment you need!
If you think you might be interested, or would like further information or to find out if you are suitable for the procedure, simply contact us at the Centre for Complementary Health.