How to Solve a Warty Problem

Warts can be unsightly and painful. They also have a tendency to spread to other areas or even between people. There are many different types of warts. The common wart is called verruca vulgaris. It often has a rough raised texture.

Flat warts are called plantar warts and have a smooth, flat top. They can be spread when shaving if located on legs or a bearded area. Kissing warts occur when a wart touches or rubs nearby skin for a prolonged time. These are often seen on the sides of toes. Mosaic warts are several smaller warts growing together into one large one. These are more difficult to treat and can be more painful, especially if they are on the bottom of the foot.  

Warts are caused by the HPV (Human Papillomavirus). Treatment options depend on the type of wart. You and your provider can decide on a plan together to treat the wart while minimizing pain. Half of all warts will disappear without treatment within one year (1). However, the wart can grow and spread during this time. Warts can spread by sharing showers or towels and skin to skin contact, especially if the person is immunocompromised.

While the wart is present, avoid pedicures and wear shower shoes if it is on the foot. Avoid manicures if warts are on the hands. Picking the wart can lead to a wart growing under the fingernail and can cause permanent damage to the nail bed. Warts in this location are very difficult to treat. If the warts are near the fingernails and are chewed on, warts can spread to the lips.  

Often, a series of regularly scheduled treatments is needed to remove the wart. The treatments are meant to cause the body’s immune system to recognize the wart and fight it off. If a wart is not responding to a series of treatments, the provider may consider further testing to verify that it is a wart. Sometimes, spots can look like warts and be something else.  

One of the most common treatments is to freeze the wart (cryotherapy). The clinic’s liquid nitrogen spray is much more effective  than  over the counter wart sprays. Another treatment option includes a few types of special medicine that can be applied to the wart.

Please visit one of the many Arkansas Dermatology clinics located around the state to treat your warts. Consider scheduling an appointment if the wart is painful, growing, bleeding, embarrassing, spreading to other areas, not responding to over the counter treatments, or has returned after previous treatments.

1. 2020. Warts: Causes, Types, And Treatments. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 May 2020].


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