Wart Symptoms and Signs
The three most common types of nongenital (not appearing on the genitals) warts and one uncommon type are these:
- Common warts (verrucae vulgaris): These common warts typically develop on the hand, especially around the nail. Common warts are gray to flesh colored, raised from the skin surface, and covered with rough, hornlike projections.
- Plantar warts (verrucae plantaris): Plantar warts, by definition, occur on the plantar surface, or bottom, of the foot. They usually occur in high-pressure areas such as the heel and the metatarsal heads (just behind the toes). Plantar warts usually grow into the skin, not outward like common warts. This growing into the skin makes plantar warts more difficult to treat.
- Flat warts (verrucae plana): Flat warts are most commonly seen on the face and the back of the hands. They usually appear as small individual bumps about ¼ inch across. Flat warts may spread rapidly on the face from activities such as shaving.
When to Seek Medical Care for Warts
When to call the doctor
- Call the doctor if the wart continues to worsen despite home therapy. If you see no improvement in the wart using salicylic acid after 12 weeks, call the doctor for an appointment to discuss other methods of wart removal.
- Call the doctor if the wart changes shape or color. There is the possibility that you are not treating a wart.
- Call the doctor if the wart starts bleeding after only a slight brush or bump or if you have difficulty stopping the bleeding while trimming the wart.
- Anyone with genital warts (vaginal, anal) should see a doctor. The treatments described here are not appropriate for genital warts and should not be used.
When to go to the hospital
Aside from pain from plantar warts that cannot be controlled with over-the-counter medication, there is no need to visit a hospital's emergency department for wart treatment.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/18/2016
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