Warts – Treatment, Type and Causes
Warts are benign (not cancerous) skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). You are more likely to get one of these viruses if you cut or damage your skin in some way. Many of us have had a wart somewhere on our bodies at some time. Other than being a nuisance, most warts are harmless and go away on their own.
More common in kids than in adults , they can affect any area of the body, but tend to invade warm, moist places, like small cuts or scratches on the fingers, hands, and feet. Warts are usually painless unless they are on the soles of the feet or another part of the body that gets bumped or touched frequently.
Treatment is difficult, with frequent failures and recurrences. Many warts, however, resolve spontaneously within a few years even without treatment.
A small number of high-risk HPV subtypes are associated with the development of malignancies, including types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, and 35. Malignant transformation most commonly is seen in patients with genital warts and in immunocompromised patients.HPV types 5, 8, 20, and 47 have oncogenic potential in patients with epidermodysplasia.
Types of warts include common warts, flat warts, plantar warts, periungual warts, and filiform warts.
Warts respond variably to a variety of treatment measures.
Over-the-counter treatments for warts include salicylic-acid preparations and freezing kits.
Signs and symptoms
There are a few different types of warts. The type is determined by where it grows on the body and what it looks like. The following describes the signs (what a person sees) and symptoms (what a person feels) for some of the different types of warts.
Common warts (also called vurruca vulgaris)
Wart under girl’s nose Wart under a child’s nose: Children frequently get common warts.
If you see a wart on your child’s face, check your child’s hands for warts. The virus that causes warts can spread from the hands to the face through touch or nail biting.
Common warts have these traits:
- Grow most often on the fingers, around the nails, and on the backs of the hands.
- Are more common where skin was broken, such as from biting fingernails or picking at hangnails.
- Can have black dots that look like seeds (often called “seed” warts). Most often feel like rough bumps. Foot warts also called plantar warts :
- These warts appear on the sole of the foot and can be hard to treat.
Plantar warts have these traits:
- Grow most often on the soles (plantar surface) of the feet.
- Can grow in clusters (mosaic warts).
- Often are flat or grow inward (walking creates pressure, which causes the warts to grow inward).
- Can hurt, feels like you have pebbles in your shoe.
- Can have black dots.
Flat warts have these traits:
- Can occur anywhere. Children usually get them on the face. Men get these most often in the beard area, and women tend to get them on their legs.
- Are smaller and smoother than other warts.
- Tend to grow in large numbers — 20 to 100 at a time.
- Filiform warts
Filiform warts have these traits:
- Looks like long threads or thin fingers that stick out.
- Often grows on the face: around the mouth, eyes, and nose.
- Often grow quickly.
- Widespread warts on hands Warts: This boy has HIV, and warts cover his hands and other parts of his body.
- HIV weakens the immune system, so the body often cannot fight the virus that causes the warts.
- Wart viruses are contagious. Warts can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart.