Warts are small, usually painless growths on the skin caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). Most, but not all, are generally harmless.
Warts can be disfiguring and embarrassing. Sometimes they itch or hurt (particularly on the feet). Some warts spread through sex.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
All warts can spread from one part of your own body to another. They may spread from one person to another, but this is uncommon.
Treatment is available if you do not like how the wart looks or if it is painful.
The typical wart is a raised round or oval growth on the skin with a rough surface.
- The spot may be lighter, darker, or black (rare) colored compared to other skin.
- Some warts have smooth or flat surfaces.
- Some warts cause pain, others do not.
Different types of warts include:
- Common warts usually appear on the hands, but can appear anywhere. They usually do not cause pain unless they are repeated rubbed against.
- Flat warts are generally found on the face and forehead. They are common in children, less common in teens, and rare in adults.
- Genital warts (condylometa) are usually found on the genitals, in the pubic area, and in the area between the thighs, but they can also appear inside the vagina and anal canal.
- Plantar warts are found on the soles of the feet. They can be very painful. Many of them on the foot may cause difficulty walking or running.
- Subungual and periungual warts appear under and around the fingernails or toenails.