Warts are non-cancerous skin growths caused by a virus and can vary in size and appearance. They are spread person-to-person through touch and typically appear on the hands and feet.
Warts fall into three categories: common, plantar, and flat. There are several types, and their appearance depends on where they are growing. They are usually skin-colored and rough to the touch, but can also be dark, smooth and flat. Warts can be large or small, single or in a group.
Common warts are usually found on the hands, fingers, and around the fingernails.
Plantar warts are usually found on the soles of the feet and may have black dots at the surface. These are typically painful and more difficult to treat.
Flat wartsmay be found anywhere on the body but most commonly occur on the face in children, appearing in clusters.
It is common for warts to disappear without treatment in weeks or months, but they can also last for years. They don’t have to be removed, but if your child’s warts are itchy, painful, bothersome or increasing in size or number, they should be treated.
Dr Mike Patrick is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and Medical Director of Interactive Media for Nationwide Children's Hospital. Since 2006, he has hosted the award-winning PediaCast, a pediatric podcast for parents. Dr Mike also produces a national podcast for healthcare providers—PediaCast CME, which explores general pediatric and faculty development topics and offers free AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to listeners.
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