Warts are small, rough lumps on the skin that are benign (non-cancerous). They often appear on the hands and feet.
Warts can look different depending on where they appear on the body and how thick the skin is. A wart on the sole of the foot is called a verruca.
Warts are caused by infection with a virus known as the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV causes keratin, a hard protein in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis) to grow too much. This produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.
Types of warts
There are several different types of warts. The more common types include:
- common warts
- plantar warts (verruca’s)
- plane warts
- filiform warts
- periungual warts
- mosaic warts
Who gets warts?
Most people will have warts at some time during their life. However, they are more common in school children and teenagers than in adults. Research has indicated that 4-5% of children and adolescents in the UK have warts.
Warts are uncommon in babies and occur in equal numbers between males and females.
People who have an increased risk of developing warts include those with weak immune systems, for example, following treatment for cancer or due to an illness such as HIV and AIDS, and those who have had an organ transplant. Around 50% of people who have had a kidney transplant develop warts within five years.
A type of wart that is known as a ‘butcher’s wart’ can sometimes develop on the hands of people who are regularly in contact with raw meat, fish or poultry for long periods of time.
Most warts disappear on their own without treatment, although treatment can help to get rid of them more quickly. Treatment may be recommended in cases where:
- the wart is causing you pain or is unsightly
- there are associated risk factors, such as having a weakened immune system
Several treatment options are available to help treat warts and verruca’s successfully. We will discuss which option is right for you at your consultation.