By: Jenna Trubschenck, M.S. PA-C
When you think of warts you may think of something vile. And they certainly can be. But you’d be surprised how many people come in asking about things growing on their skin that turn out to be just a wart. Warts are non-cancerous skin growths that can be found on the top layer of skin. They are caused by a virus called the human papilloma virus (HPV). There are over 150 different types of HPV, characterized both clinically and microscopically. Therefore, warts can come in all different shapes, sizes, color and appearances.
Some common types of warts include: common warts (verruca vulgaris), plantar warts (warts found on the soles of feet), flat warts (can often be found in areas people shave), genital warts (we won’t tell you where you will find those… that’s for the PG13 crowd!).
Warts are contagious – transmission is by contact with the virus. You can catch them from contact with another person. Some people can be more prone to catching warts than others, but usually there has to be some sort of break in the skin for transmission to happen. They can also spread once someone has it, often by autoinoculation (don’t pick at them!!!).
There are numerous treatments that are available for warts, and no single treatment is consistently highly effective for all people. It is a good idea to catch warts when they are smaller however, as less treatment may be required than when it gets better. Options we provide at dermatology offices include treatment with liquid nitrogen, burning them, or even topical medicines either in and/or out of office. Consulting your dermatology provider about warts is a good idea, and depending on your type of wart, and other varying factors, we will be able to inform, educate you and provide your best options available.