What are verrucas and warts?
Warts are small, rough lumps that often develop on the skin of the hands and feet.
Warts vary in appearance depending on where they are on the body and how thick the skin is. They can develop in isolation or in clusters and are non-cancerous.
Some warts are more likely to affect particular areas of the body. For example, verrucas are warts that usually develop on the soles of the feet.
Most people will have warts at some point in their life. They tend to affect children and teenagers more than adults.
Warts are caused by an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV).
The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis). The extra keratin produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.
Are warts contagious?
Warts are very contagious, and close skin-to-skin contact can pass on the infection.
The infection can also be transmitted indirectly from contaminated objects or surfaces, such as the area surrounding a swimming pool.
After becoming infected, it can take weeks or even months for a wart or verruca to appear.
When to see a doctor
Most types of warts are easy to identify because they have a distinctive appearance.
Although, you should always see a doctor if you have a growth on your skin you are unable to identify or are worried about.
Your doctor will be able to tell if it’s a wart simply by looking at it. Where it is on your body and how it affects surrounding skin will also be taken into consideration.
You should also visit your doctor if you have a wart that:
- changes in appearance
- causes you significant pain, distress or embarrassment
You might decide to treat your wart if it is painful, or in an area that is causing discomfort or embarrassment.
- Salycylic acid
- Liquid nitrogen
- Heat therapy
Surgery is usually recommended for warts if you have tried conservative treatment and they are not working.