What are Warts?

Warts are local benign (non-cancerous) skin growths caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They can grow on any part of the body and may appear as small, flat, or cauliflower-appearing bumps. They may simply be a nuisance or can bleed and cause pain when they’re bumped. Since they are caused by a virus, they are contagious and can spread to other parts of the body.

What are some types of warts?

The most common type are dome-shaped and frequently found on backs of fingers, toes, and knees. Plantar warts are found on the bottom (plantar part) of the feet. Flat (planar) warts may arise on the face, legs, and other parts of the body. Periungual warts are found around or under the nail. Filiform warts are longer and frequently appear on the face. Genital warts are found on the genitals of men or women.

What treatments are available for warts?

The treatment chosen to treat your wart depends on its location, type, size, and your type of skin. Warts can appear and disappear with no identifiable reason even after an apparent cure. If you ignore them they eventually go away but this may take months or even years. Since we can’t kill the wart virus there is no single perfect treatment for them. Various treatment options are available. Remember, treatment options and success vary depending on the type of wart and where it is located. Some common treatment options include:

  • Applying salicylic acid
  • Applying a prescription cream
  • Applying liquid nitrogen (freezing)
  • Laser
  • Burning
  • Cutting