Warts and Plantar Warts - Topic Overview
Is this topic for you?
This topic has information about warts on any part of
the body except the genitals. For information about warts on the genitals, see
What are warts, and what causes them?
A wart is a
skin growth caused by some types of the virus called the
human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100
known types of HPV. HPV infects the top layer of skin, usually entering the
body in an area of broken skin. The virus causes the top layer of skin to grow
rapidly, forming a wart. Most warts go away on their own within months or
Warts can grow anywhere on the body. They are most common
among children and young adults.
There are five kinds of warts.
They look different and form on different parts of the body.
grow most often on the
hands, but they may be anywhere on the body. They are rough, shaped like a
dome, and gray-brown in color.
grow on the soles of the
feet. They look like hard, thick patches of skin with dark specks. Plantar
warts may cause pain when you walk, and you may feel like you are stepping on a
usually grow on the face, arms, or legs.
They are small (usually smaller than the eraser on the end of a pencil), have
flat tops, and can be pink, light brown, or light yellow.
usually grow around the mouth, nose, or beard area. They are the
same color as your skin and have growths that look like threads sticking out of
grow under and around the toenails
and fingernails. They look like rough bumps with an uneven surface and border.
They can affect nail growth.
How are warts spread?
Warts are easily spread by
direct contact with a human papillomavirus. You can infect yourself again by
touching the wart and then another part of your body. You can infect another
person by sharing towels, razors, or other personal items. After contact with
HPV, it can take many months of slow growth beneath the skin before you
notice a wart.
It is unlikely that you will get a wart every time
you come in contact with HPV. Some people are more likely to get warts than
What are the symptoms?
Warts come in a wide range
of shapes and sizes. A wart may be a bump with a rough surface, or it may be
flat and smooth. Tiny blood vessels grow into the core of the wart to supply it
with blood. In both common and plantar warts, these blood vessels may look like
dark dots in the wart's center. In most cases, the skin lines and creases over
the wart look distorted.