Newsflash: Verruca disappears after 12 years

Robbie the cat

Since no one wants to see a picture of my wart, I thought I’d show you a picture of my cat Robbie. He’s much cuter.

I like the truth. The older I get, the more I think it’s pointless to hide the very things that make me the most human – and this includes my warts. Yes, I have warts. But I think they are disappearing spontaneously and this is more exciting than discovering a Miu Miu bag for $20 in a charity shop.

Here’s my story, warts and all. About 12 years ago I got something called a verruca (commonly known as a plantar’s wart). The English Husband gave me this little present when we were living in a flat with a damp, windowless bathroom.

The verruca virus, part of the HPV (human papillomavirus) family, is contagious and can thrive in very damp places such as public swimming pools and sweaty gyms. (It doesn’t like porcelain baths – so don’t worry if I’ve used your bathroom.) A small cut on the skin is enough to let the virus in, while the body is the perfect host. About 7 – 10% of the US population will get a verruca in their lifetime; 20% of children between the ages of 16 and 18 will have one.

The English Husband also passed this virus on to our best friend and my brother. Both of them managed to get rid of the wart within about a year or two. I have had mine for more than a decade.

Let me put this timeframe into context. Twelve years ago:

  • I had never heard of a little company called Google
  • George Bush Junior was president of the United States
  • Justin Bieber was only six years old
  • Gladiator and Cast Away had just been released in the movie theatre
  • Destiny’s Child released Say My Name

If you’ve never had a verruca, let me tell you now it hurts. They look a bit like a cauliflower and have tiny black spots inside the wart, usually only visible if you look closely. These are small hemorrhages caused by standing or walking on the verruca. Warts are quite fascinating things, really, and I’ve become a bit of an expert.

Invariably, a verruca will hurt if you squeeze its sides. It will also give you pain in the mornings when you put pressure on the foot or if you are wearing tight shoes. When you are feeling run down, it will throb. I’ve noticed that it can also throb on airplanes.

This ugly wart has stopped me from getting pedicures. I’ve become incredibly self-conscious about showing the soles of my feet to other people, whether at the beach or in a yoga class. I always felt like I was holding up a red flag saying, ‘Look at me, I have huge wart on my foot.’ It functions a bit like a lighthouse does with boats – this wart, I felt, was a beacon for people’s stares.

All of a sudden, though, it seems to be disappearing, and it’s taking some smaller warts with it. I had all but given up hope. I had tried all the familiar treatments – bazuka, tea tree oil, salicylic acid, duct tape and even going to a chiropodist. I might even have prayed. Nothing has ever worked.

Everything I’ve ever read about verrucas says that they will eventually go away on their own. Normally this happens within months or a couple of years. For some unlucky people, it could take much longer. To get rid of it, your body will need to make antibodies.

I truly didn’t think it would happen to me. I thought I was going to die with this wart on my foot, so this is as close to a miracle as I’m likely to get.

I thought I’d share this with you because there might be people out there, thinking that they will live with warts forever. I want to offer you a bit of hope.

And because I’m feeling charitable, I will add this little bit of trivia as a bonus. Oliver Cromwell is credited with the modern expression, ‘warts and all’. The 17th-century republican, who had King Charles I beheaded, told a painter that he wanted to be portrayed with ‘pimples, warts and everything as you see me’.

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Newsflash: Verruca disappears after 12 years

  1. Cousin

    Interesting facts. Glad to hear yours is gone. I am bending over now trying to examine the wart on the bottom of my foot. There’s a band called Verruca Salt…I wonder if there name has anything to do with warts.

    • The English Husband reliably tells me that the name Verruca Salt comes from a character in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Whether that character was named after a verruca is unknown. I’d say the odds are high.
      If you have a wart on your foot, it’s a verruca. It could be a callus, though. Does it change when it comes into contact with water? If it gets slightly spongier, it’s a verruca.

  2. Jeanelle

    It sounds like you’ve been through enough agony over the years so I’m glad it’s disappearing. Shame on the English Husband for giving that to you. LOL!
    And yes, I agree…Robbie is much cuter to look at.

  3. Carla, you make me laugh! I’had verrucas on my hands and feet as a child! The ones on my feet a chiropodist burnt with acid and got rid of them. The ones on my hands, however, my very own mother treated them with a special Brazilian spell, which procedure consisted in rubbing the ends of the onions she used in cooking on the verrucas, them hanging them up outside in the sunlight for many days until the verrucas completely disappeared! Now I know it was the acid in the onions that did the job, though!
    Congratulations on your verruca-free foot, although I always though you had cute feet! 🙂

    • I’m fascinated by your mother’s onion remedy. What I failed to mention in the post is that while the verrucas on my foot are definitely going, I have a tiny one on my hand. It’s growing slowly, so I might have to give your mother’s cure a try. Unfortunately, if you get verrucas as an adult, they tend to be more stubborn. Kids can get rid of theirs easier.

  4. Catherine

    I have a wart on my hand which I have not bothered to get rid of, mainly because it’s not the first one I have had, so I have experience. I had another wart on my hand for several years and had it frozen off by my GP about three times with liquid nitrogen (before the age of austerity – I can’t imagine any GP being so reckless with NHS money these days) but the little f***** kept coming back. Eventually I gave up, and lo and behold it disappeared by itself a couple of years later.

    I have not inherited my lovely husbands verruca problem. His feet were covered with them (apparently some people are more susceptible) and he attended the chiropodist to have them literally burnt off every week for nearly two years. God knows how much that cost us and what kind of a holiday we could have had with the money. Meanwhile, on two occasions I thought I had caught them from lovely husband and traipsed reluctantly to the chiropodist only to be told that they are just corns. Said corns caused by the effect that my ‘age’ has on my gait. He also told me that I have an in-turned foot, one leg is longer than the other, I have dry feet, I am likely to get bunions when I am older and corns will become a recurrent problem for me in later life. I would have been happier with verrucas…

    • We kind of tend to overlook our feet, but they can cause serious problems. I think I have a bunion on my right foot and I suspect it will only get worse with age. I am awaiting the day I am told I will need an operation or resign myself to ugly orthopedic shoes.

  5. Ina

    Hello all,

    I was wondering if any of you have ever used or heard of someone who has used Wortie (http://www.wortie.com/)?

  6. Ruth

    Just read your story after realising that mine are finally going, after 15 years, as well!
    It started with two tiny ones and I ended up with a sort of cluster and several smaller ones and I hated my feet for years. Tried everything to get rid of them and, like you, thought I’d be stuck with them for life. I had just got round to sadly accepting that when they started to disappear!
    Such a seemingly small thing, but as an avid flipflop wearer I was over the moon!
    So lovely to have my feet back all to myself 😄

    • Two years later and they have not come back. My children, on the other hand, both have them. I’m very worried that I will end up with another verruca as a result – but not so far. I can finally get pedicures and show off my feet without actually being worried about what people think. It really did affect my life for quite a long time. I’m really glad to hear yours spontaneously went too.

  7. Emrod

    I Picked up a verruca, thoughtlessly transferred to me by an ex boyfriend, who swore he was “allergic to shoe gum”, whatever that meant. In reality he had had verrucae for years and liked to rub at them with his fingers. I never had any as a child so contracting one at the age of 23 was a bit of a shock, I can tell you.

    I went to the doctor’s who said, “don’t worry, it will go in two years’ time so don’t do anything.” Five years later it was still there, as solid as you like. So then I started to try to get rid of it.

    I started with the usual methods – over the counter acidic remedies. Except they weren’t. Remedies, that is. They were expensive and time consuming and did absolutely nothing except make me limp with the pain.

    Next came freezing products. Nope, useless. Bear in mind that I tried each of these treatments religiously for 6 months at a time before giving up.

    Several way out treatments followed including painting it with nail varnish, filing it and duct tape.

    Then I went to a chiropodist, who charged me £20 for a pot of brown liquid and £7.50 every 2 weeks for 4 months to file it down while I applied the liquid myself every single night. No change.

    I had four treatments over 2 years at the GP’s where they froze it with liquid nitrogen, causing me to be close to tears as I hobbled about the bext day. At one point, it went black and I honestly thought it would go. But no. It popped back up again and I swear this time it was laughing at me.

    By this time I was desperate and, as in the article, honestly thought I’d die with the damned thing. I can’t tell you how miserable it made me and I began walking with my foot on the side.

    Then a slight breakthrough. I went to see the doctor again but there was a locum there, who listened and referred me to a dermatologist. I was cheered and an appointment came through for 6 weeks’ time. I went to the appointment and offered my bare foot to the dermatologist, who peered at it through a lens while her hair touched me a bit spookily.

    In the consulting room, I was cautiously optimistic as she took her seat and started to talk. “Well, it’s a verruca”, she said. And offered no more. “Right…” I said, “how do you get rid of it?” “Oh you can’t. Just wait a couple of years and it will go away on it’s own. Nobody worries about them any more.”

    I felt like crying and resigned myself to the situation. I had tried everything.

    Then, after I’d had it for 18 years, my husband left, which was a huge relief. And guess what? The bloody thing disappeared within a month!

    My conclusion? It’s kept there by stress. It feeds off your anxieties and really is a worry wart. OK, it’s probably linked to immunity but helped by being stress free.

    Share my story. There is hope!

    • I think there is definitely some truth in that, or at least no one can tell you otherwise! Glad you finally got rid of it. May it never return. I am still verruca-free despite the fact that my kids have had them. Hurrah.

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