Warts and Plantar Warts (cont.)
Human papillomaviruses can live on healthy skin without causing infection. But when a human papillomavirus enters the body through small breaks in the skin, it can infect the skin cells beneath the surface, causing a wart to grow.
- A wart can take many months to grow before it becomes visible.
- Warts, particularly newer ones, are easily spread. They can spread to other parts of the body or to other people. You can reinfect yourself by touching the wart and then another part of your body. You can infect other people by sharing towels, razors, or other personal items.
- Common and flat warts can sometimes spread to the genitals and anus, especially in children.
- Plantar warts can be pushed beneath the skin's surface by pressure from standing and walking. A thickening of the skin slowly forms over most of the wart and looks and feels like a callus.
- Periungual warts can affect nail growth.
- It may be hard to get rid of warts after they develop. But they generally go away on their own within months or years.
- Just before warts disappear on their own, they may turn black.
What Increases Your Risk
Risk factors you cannot control
Risk factors you cannot control include:
- How well your immune system responds to infection by a human papillomavirus. When a virus enters the body, the immune system creates antibodies to help destroy the virus. An impaired immune system puts you at greater risk for warts.
- Your age. Warts occur most often in children and young adults. As you get older, you may find that you get fewer warts or your warts go away. Warts are less common among older people, perhaps because people develop immunity to human papillomaviruses over time.
Risk factors you can control
Try to avoid the following risk factors:
- Walking barefoot on moist surfaces, as in public showers, locker rooms, and around swimming pool areas.
- Sharing towels, razors, and other personal items with a person who has warts.
- Touching warts on yourself or someone else.
- Biting your nails or cuticles.
- Wearing closed or tight shoes that cause sweaty feet.