Viral warts a common problem in Brunei

National 2 minutes, 18 seconds


VIRAL warts and ingrown toenails are among the most common conditions treated by the Podiatry Department, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital.

Lim Kai Woon, a podiatrist from the department, told The Brunei Times that they see an average of 30 cases of viral warts and nine cases of ingrown toenails a week.

Lim explained that ingrown toenails refer to deformed toenails that pierce through the flesh and is cause either by genetics or trauma.

Viral Warts (Verruca Pedis) is caused by a virus known as the human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV can spread to a victim through microscopic openings and can present itself as a single isolated lesion, multiple lesions, clusters, raised flat large lesions on the foot that can be easily mistaken for calluses.

“(The problem with ingrown toenails) is when it gets infected. This leads to further complications such as swelling, redness and pain. If they (people with ingrown toenails) remove the nail, there is no guarantee that the problem won’t reoccur,” said Lim.

He said that podiatrists can provide the solution to remove and permanently correct the problem by using a caustic chemical called phenol which kills the roots and prevents the nail from growing into the flesh again.

“(For viral warts), It can spread to your hands, your face... basically anywhere that has a microscopic cut as long as there is an opening” said Lim.

He explained that viral warts appear like cauliflower with visible black dots after reduction. He added that these black dots are a result of the virus bringing the blood capillaries up to the surface.

He added that the virus thrives in damp and wet places and suggested that the public avoid sharing footwear, walking barefooted in wet toilets and damp and muddy fields.

“(In regards to) methods of treatment, the first line of treatment that we use here in podiatry is silver nitrate, a caustic chemical that damages cells. What it does is trigger an immune response (to cure the problem). If silver nitrate is not effective we will use cryotherapy, freezing therapy using nitrous oxide,” said Lim.

He added that the worst case he has encountered for viral warts was the virus spreading across the whole bottom of the foot.

“It hurts, it doesn’t look good and it spreads.” said Lim.

Lim adviced those with viral warts to make sure it is covered. He also spoke on the importance of handwashing after touching the affected areas and to quickly see a podiatrist as they can speed up the healing process while preventing it from spreading further.

“The caustic chemical that we use creates a black layer of protection called eschar that hardens and prevents it from spreading and (allows it to heal).” he said.

The Brunei Times