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Conditions & Diseases


What are warts? 

Warts are caused by a viral infection of the cells found in the top layer of the skin. The name of this virus is human papillomavirus (HPV).  Warts are skin colored and feel rough to the touch.

Types of warts: 

Hand Warts: These are usually found around the nails, on the fingers and on the backs of the hand.  They are more common where skin has been broken and in the areas where fingernails are bitten or hangnails picked. 

Foot Warts:  These are usually on the soles of feet and are called plantar warts.  Plantar warts tend to grow in a group the
size of a quarter or larger.  Most plantar warts do not stick up above the surface as much as hand warts, because
the pressure of walking flattens them and pushes them back into the skin.  Often black dots, which are blood vessels
that feed the wart, can be seen. 

Flat Warts:  These are much smaller and are less rough than hand or foot warts.  They tend to grow in a great number at any
one time.  They can occur anywhere, but are most common on the face and legs. 

How do you get warts?   

Warts are passed from person to person.  The time from the first contact to the time the warts have grown large enough to be seen is generally several months.  The risk of catching hand, foot and flat warts is small.

How are warts treated?  

Treatments options depend on the age of the patient and type of wart.  Cryotherapy (freezing) is generally preferred because it is effective and rarely results in scarring.  Repeat treatments at 2 – 4 week intervals are often necessary. 
Other treatments such as cantharidin, podophyllin, electrosurgical destruction, or bleomycin may be used.  Adults will benefit from taking Vitamin E 400 IU daily and children will benefit from a daily childrens multivitamin to help fight the wart virus.                        

A combination of in-office and at home treatments may be used.  The treatment of warts can become very expensive quickly.  Because they are viral in nature, one wart may be resolved and another appear.  It is possible that after many treaments the patient may still have warts.

Learn more about Warts from the American Academy of Dermatology


Images of plantar warts (left) and a hand wart (right). Warts disrupt the natural skin lines.