Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a viral infection in the top layer of the skin. Viruses that cause warts are called human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are usually skin-colored and feel rough to the touch, but they can be dark, flat and smooth. The appearance of a wart depends on where it is growing.

Warts on the soles of the feet are called “plantar warts.” Most plantar warts do not stick up above the surface like other warts because the pressure of walking flattens them and pushes them back into the skin. These warts may cause pain when walking or exercising.

How You Get Warts

Warts are passed from person to person, sometimes indirectly. The time from the first contact to the time the warts have grown large enough to be seen is often several months. The risk of catching hand, foot, or flat warts from another person is small.

Why Some People Get Warts and Others Don’t

Some people get warts depending on how often they are exposed to the virus. Wart viruses occur more easily if the skin has been damaged in some way, which explains the high frequency of warts in children who bite their nails or pick at hangnails. Some people are just more likely to catch the wart virus than are others, just as some people catch colds very easily. Patients with a weakened immune system also are more prone to a wart virus infection

What To Do If You Think You Have a Wart?

The best thing to do, if you think you have a wart, is to have Dr. Ghatan or one of her associates evaluate it. They can discuss the treatment options with you and help you treat the wart most effectively.