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Warts are skin coloured bumps on the skin that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. The technical name is verruca vulgaris. Warts can be dark brown or gray-black, flat, rough or smooth. They appear in areas of skin that grow faster than normal due to a virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). They can spread, and some people can more easily get them.


  • Common warts : Common warts have a firm, raised, rough surface and may look like cauliflower.

    They can appear anywhere, but they are most common on the knuckles, fingers, elbows, knees, and any area with broken skin.

  • Plantar warts : Painful verrucae appear on the soles of the feet, heels, and toes.
  • Filiform warts : Filiform warts are long and thin in shape. They can grow rapidly on the eyelids, neck, and armpits.
  • Mosaic warts : Mosaic warts are multiple plantar warts in a large cluster.
  • Plane warts : Plane warts are round, flat, and smooth. They can be brownish, yellowish, or skin colored. They often grow on sun-exposed areas.
  • Genital warts : These are grey or off-white lumps with a grainy ‘cauliflower’ appearance. Since genital warts are sexually transmitted, the penis, vulva and anus are most commonly affected. Some common types of genital warts predispose women to cancer of the cervix.


Viruses called human papillomavirus (HPV) cause warts. The virus enters the skin through a cut or abrasion. The virus causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, resulting in a wart.

Warts also are more common on parts of the body that people shave such as the beard area in men and the legs in women. You can spread warts from one place on your body to another.

Warts can spread from person to person. You can get warts from touching a wart on someone’s body. Some people get a wart after touching something that another person’s wart touched, such as a towel.


HPV can change the structure of infected cells and can lead to further complications.

Pregnancy problems: There is a small risk that the mother may pass on genital warts during childbirth. Laryngeal papillomatosis can occur. A newborn with laryngeal papillomatosis may have genital warts in the mouth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may also cause genital warts to grow, bleed, or multiply.

Cancer: HPV infection is associated with cervical cancer, as well as cancer of the vulva, anus, penis, mouth, and throat. Not all HPV infections lead to cervical cancer, but it is crucial for a woman's long-term health that she attends regular Pap screenings.

Treatment options

  • Special ointments and solutions
  • Cryotherapy
  • Injections using different kinds of medicine
  • Laser
  • Surgery
  • Electrocautery
  • Curettage