Warts are small, non-cancerous growths that will typically develop on hands and feet. They are caused by an infection of HPV (human papilloma virus). The virus creates an excess amount of keratin which causes the skin in the affected area to harden.
Warts are extremely contagious, so avoid direct contact with someone who is affected. You should avoid sharing towels, socks and shoes with a person who has warts and always wear footwear in communal baths and showers. If it is yourself that has warts, prevent them spreading further. Don’t scratch the affected area and keep it as dry as possible.
Most warts don’t require medical treatment as they will disappear on their own. Wart removal is more commonly carried out for aesthetic reasons. If however the wart causes pain, bleeds easily or changes in appearance then medical advice should be sought.
Types of warts
Common warts: can appear on any part of the body, and have a rough, raised surface. They are more common to knuckles, fingers and elbows, and they will often have dark spots, which are caused by blood vessels clotting.
Verrucas: appear on the soles of the feet, and rather than having a raised surface they tend to grow back into the skin due to the weight on them and can be quite painful. They usually have a white area with a black dot in the middle. The black dot is the blood vessel supplying the verruca.
Plane warts: they are flat, round and smooth in their appearance and are usually a yellowish/brownish colour. They appear mainly on the face, hands and legs amongst children. It’s not common for adults to have them.
Filiform warts: they are long and slender in appearance and usually develop on the neck, armpits and face.
Mosaic warts: form on hands and feet and develop in clusters.