Warts are benign or noncancerous lesions of the skin. It is a type of viral infection of the skin caused by the human papilloma virus. They are most common in school children but seen in all ages. They can be widespread if there is immune deficiency or in people with bad eczema.

How they look on the skin is usually determined by the location. When they are present on the sole of the foot, they are commonly known as verruca. They present as rough raised lesions, and can appear around the nails. On face and back of the hands they usually are flat lesions with a smooth surface and are known as plane warts. Filiform warts have been named because of their stalk like structure.

Warts are usually spread by direct contact from skin to skin and can also spread due to scratching or shaving especially in the surrounding skin. Treatment is through application of salicylic acid preparations which are available over the counter. Other treatments are destructive such as freezing or destroying using electric current or scraping under a local anaesthetic. Lasers are also being used to treat stubborn warts. Treatment especially of verruca can be frustrating. They would normally resolve spontaneously in few months to about 2 years, though at times, verruca can persist for several years.

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wart on the thumb