Warts are skin growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Typically, the virus enters the body through broken skin or small cuts. The virus causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly and thicken thereby forming a wart. Most warts aren’t a serious concern and will eventually go away without treatment within months or years.
There are different kinds of warts and they can occur anywhere on the body, most often on the hands. Plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet, usually on the heels or other weight-bearing areas; the pressure on these warts can cause plantar warts to grow inward under a thick, hard layer of skin (callus).
Warts are easily spread by coming into direct contact with HPV, you can get infected by sharing towels, razors or other personal items. It can take months of slow growth before you notice a wart. However, it’s unlikely you’ll get a wart each time you encounter HPV. Often physicians can tell if a growth is a wart just through visual examination, but they may want to take a sample and look at it under a microscope (a skin biopsy).
Warts come in a variety of shapes and sizes but are usually painless. However, a wart that grows in a spot where you put pressure, such as on a finger or on the bottom of the foot, can be painful, so it can be beneficial to see someone about removal.
How are warts removed?
Removal of warts through laser treatment is extremely successful. This treatment employs a specific wavelength to destroy the wart tissue. Depending on the number to be removed or size of the treatment area, local anesthetic may be used. Usually, two to four treatments are required, with an interval of about three to four weeks between treatments.