What are warts?

Warts are noncancerous skin growths caused by papillomavirus. Warts are more common in children than adults, although they can develop at any age. Warts can spread to other parts of the body and to other people. There are many different types of warts, due to many different papillomavirus types (more than 100). Warts aren't painful, except sometimes, when located on the soles of the feet. Most warts go away, without treatment, over an extended period of time.

Common types of warts

The following are the more common types of warts:

  • Common warts. Growths on the fingers and hands which usually have a rough surface and they are grayish-yellow or brown in color.
  • Foot warts. Located on the soles of feet (plantar warts) with black dots (clotted blood vessels). These warts may be painful.
  • Flat warts. Small, smooth growths that grow in groups up to 100 at a time; most often appear on children's faces.
  • Genital warts. Grow on the genitals, may be sexually transmitted
  • Filiform warts. Small, long, narrow growths that usually appear on eyelids, face, or neck.

Treatment for warts

Specific treatment for warts will be determined by your child's doctor based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the growths
  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the growths
  • Your opinion or preference

Warts in children often disappear without treatment. Treatment of warts depends on several factors, including:

  • Length of time on the skin
  • Location
  • Type
  • Severity

Treatment may include:

  • Application of salicylic acid
  • Freezing with liquid nitrogen
  • Electrodesiccation (using an electrical current to destroy the wart)
  • Immunotherapy