Warts are benign skin growths caused by a virus- the human papilloma virus (HPV). There are many different types often described by their location and appearance.
Types of Warts
- Common – These usually occur on fingers and toes and tend to be grayer than your normal skin tone.
- Plantar – These warts are found on the soles of your feet and can sometimes interfer with walking and other activities such as sports or dance.
- Periungual – This type grows under and around the fingernails and toenails and can be painful and sometimes can affect nail growth.
- Flat – Flat warts can grow on the face, arms, or thighs and have a flatter top. You may not notice them as being warts, but they can appear to be a different color than the surrounding skin, usually pink, brown.
- Filiform – These warts look like skin tags in that they have a slight elongated stalk like appearance.
Fortunately, there are many different options for treating warts. It is very important not to go overboard treating warts as many children are subjected to treatments that may be painful and irritating unnecessarily. If a patient’s warts are not causing symptoms (such as being painful, interfering with activities or difficulty walking) then simple options involving topical treatments may be wise. If the warts are symptomatic, then other options that are likely to produce quicker results are recommended. Remember, it is important to never let the treatment of a particular skin problem be worse than the actual problem.
Many times, warts go away on their own. Warts are easily spread as the virus is literally everywhere.
When warts are symptomatic, we recommend a treatment option that is proportionate to the severity of symptoms produced by the wart. If the wart is only mildly bothersome, then topical treatment designed to chemically destroy the wart tissue is a good initial choice. Some warts respond nicely to freezing. If a wart is on the sole of the foot and prevents one from activities, then other options that produce quicker results will be discussed. If warts are widespread, then immunotherapy (using body’s immune system to destroy the wart) options are helpful. It must be remembered that warts are unpredictable. Some may disappear without any treatment and others can be resistant to clearance. Persistence is key.