Warts are small growths on the skin that normally don’t cause pain. Some warts itch and may hurt, especially if they’re on the feet. The clinical appearance of warts include common warts, flat warts, plantar warts, filiform warts and genital warts.
5 types of warts
- Common warts usually appear on the hands.
- Flat warts usually appear on the face and forehead.
- Genital warts (condolyma) appear on the genitals, in the pubic area and between the thighs.
- Subungual and periungual warts are found under or around the fingernails and toenails
- Plantar warts are found on the bottoms of the feet.
Warts are a type of infection caused by viruses in the human papillomavirus (HPV) family. There are more than 100 types of HPV.
Common types of HPV tend to cause warts on the skin (such as the hands and fingers). Other HPV types tend to cause warts on the genitals and rectal area.
In most cases, the doctor can diagnose a plantar wart with one or more of these techniques:
- Examining the lesion
- Paring the lesion with a scalpel and checking for signs of dark, pinpoint dots – tiny clotted blood vessels
- Removing a small section of the lesion (shave biopsy) and sending it to a laboratory for analysis
Warts typically disappear spontaneously, but it may take years. It responds variably to a variety of treatment measures. If warts are painful or spreading, and self-care approach doesn’t help, going to the doctor for a check up is advised.
Doctors may suggest treatments such as
- Stronger peeling medicine (salicylic acid) – prescription-strength wart medications with salicylic acid work by removing layers of a wart little by little. It also stimulates the immune system’s ability to fight the wart.
- Freezing Medicine (cryotherapy) – cryotherapy done at a doctor’s office involves applying liquid nitrogen to the wart, either with a spray or a cotton swab.
Surgical and other procedures
- Immunotherapy – it uses medications or solutions to stimulate the immune system to fight viral warts.
- Minor surgery – the doctor cuts away the wart or destroys it by using an electric needle (electrodessication and curettage).
- Laser Treatment – pulsed-dye laser treatment burns closed (cauterizes) tiny blood vessels. The infected tissue eventually dies, and the wart falls off.
- Vaccine – HPV vaccine is used to treat warts even though the vaccine is not specifically targeted toward the wart virus that causes the majority of warts.
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