Warts :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

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Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a virus. They are spread through close person-to-person contact. Open sores increase the chances of getting warts.

Picture 1 - Wash hands well after touching warts.
Image of warts

Types of Warts

Warts are usually skin-colored and rough to the touch. They can also be dark, smooth and flat. Warts can be large or small, single or in a group. The appearance of the wart depends on where it is growing.

  • Common warts are usually found on the hands, on the fingers and around the fingernails.
  • Plantar warts are usually found on the soles of the feet. They are flat and may have black dots on the surface. They can be painful and hard to treat.
  • Flat warts may be found anywhere on the body but often occur on the face in children. These warts often appear in clusters.


In children, warts can go away without treatment after several months or years. If they are itchy, painful, bothersome or increasing in size or number, they should be treated.

There are many methods for removing warts including burning, freezing, chemicals, surgical and laser treatments. More than 1 form of treatment is often needed to completely get rid of the wart. Talk with your doctor about which method is best.

Preventing Warts

  • Wash hands well after touching a wart.
  • Do not pick at warts. This can spread the virus that causes them.
  • Teach your child not to bite fingernails or hangnails. Open sores increase chances of getting warts.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your child’s doctor if:

  • You want to have your child’s warts removed.
  • There are problems after the wart is removed, such as infection or the wart coming back.

Warts (PDF)

HH-I-293 2/09 Copyright 2009, Nationwide Children’s Hospital

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