Warts are skin growths caused by certain types of viruses. They're most common in children and can affect any part of the body.

Types of Warts

There are several different types of warts. Common warts are usually found on the hands, but they can also appear on the knees, elbows, and other parts of the body.

  • Common warts – small, fleshy growths that have a rough surface caused by tiny, black dots that look a bit like grains of dirt.
  • Plantar warts – these appear on the soles of the feet and can be painful.
  • Flat warts – these are usually much smaller than common warts and tend to appear in larger numbers. They can be found on the face, arms, and legs.
  • Filiform warts – these warts have a long, narrow shape and can grow around the eyes, nose, and/or mouth.

Causes of Warts

Most warts are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus is usually spread through direct contact, although it can also be spread through contact with infected items, such as towels or razors. Other causes of warts include:

  • Having minor cuts or scrapes that give the virus a way to enter the body.
  • Sharing items with someone who has a wart.
  • Touching a person who has a wart.
  • Having weakened immunity due to illness or taking certain medications.


Most warts will go away on their own, but in some cases, they may need to be treated with medications or other treatments. Treatments for warts include:

  • Prescription medications – such as creams or gels, which can be applied directly to the wart.
  • Cryotherapy – This involves freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen.
  • Surgical removal – This involves numbing the area and cutting out the wart.
  • Laser therapy – This treatment uses a specialized laser to target and remove the wart.

It's important to keep in mind that warts may not go away after one treatment and may require several different treatments before they are completely gone.