Warts : Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Warts ?

Warts are small, usually painless growths on the skin. Warts appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. These are often skin-colored and feel rough, but they can be dark (brown or gray-black), flat, and smooth. 
They can affect any area of the body, but tend to invade warm, moist places, like small cuts or scratches on the fingers, hands, and feet.
Types of warts include:
  • Common warts- A common wart is a small, hard bump that’s dome-shaped and usually grayish-brown.
  • Flat warts- These are about the size of a pinhead, are smoother than other kinds of warts, and have flat tops. Flat warts may be pink, light brown, or yellow.
  • Plantar warts- Found on the bottom of the foot, plantar warts can be very uncomfortable like walking on a small stone.
  • Filiform warts- These have a finger-like shape, are usually flesh-colored, and often grow on or around the mouth, eyes, or nose.
  • Genital warts (condyloma) – usually found on the genitals and in the area between the thighs. They can also appear inside the vagina and anal canal.

Recovery Time

Most often, warts are harmless growths that go away on their own within 2 years. Warts around and under your nails are harder to cure than warts in other places. Warts can come back after treatment even if they appear to go away. Minor scars may appear after warts are removed. 


Diagnosis is done by physical examination at the wart. Sometimes a skin biopsy may be recommended.

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