Warts (non-genital)

Warts are skin growths caused by the contagious human papilloma virus. They are most commonly found on the hands and fingers but may also be found on other parts of the body including the soles of the feet (plantar warts). Since they are caused by a virus, there is no cure, but warts can be treated or removed. They also may go away on their own without treatment.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Vary in size, but usually smaller than a pencil eraser
  • Flesh colored, white, pink or tan
  • Rough texture
  • May have small black dots in the center called seeds which are clotted off blood vessels
  • Plantar warts on the soles of feet may be mistaken as a foreign object in the foot that has been stepped on (i.e. glass or splinter). May be tender to walk on due to the fact that they grow inward and are covered by a thick layer of skin or callous.

Treatment:

  • Over the counter treatments are available in liquids, gels, sprays or pads. Most contain salicylic acid and require daily treatment for a few weeks.
  • Duct tape has also been used as a home remedy
  • Your healthcare provider can treat warts in a variety of ways using special acid treatments or freezing them using liquid nitrogen. Wart treatment is available at the Student Health Center.

Prevention:

  • Avoid picking at warts as it may cause spreading
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Clean objects that may have come in contact with warts (i.e gym equipment)
  • Avoid direct contact with warts (yours or anyone else’s)
  • Avoid biting fingernails. This may lead to breaks in the skin allowing the wart virus to enter and spread

Do not shave areas that have warts. If you must shave, use an electric razor.