Warts come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They may appear as raised or flat growths on a person’s skin. They are mostly skin colored, but, if you look closely, you may be able to see what looks like black dots in the wart. These are the tiny blood vessels that supply the growing wart. Warts are typically painless, but persistent pressure on a wart, such as on the sole of your foot, may cause it to become painful.

Warts are caused by a virus known as HPV, human papilloma virus. Most commonly, HPV is referenced as being sexually transmitted; however, many forms of HPV are not sexually transmitted. What does hold true for all forms of HPV is that your skin must come into contact with the virus for it to be transmitted, whether that is directly or indirectly. For example, if an individual has a wart on their hand, that individual may transmit the wart by touching the warts to another part of their body. Similarly, warts may be transmitted by sharing personal items such as hand towels.

In many cases a wart can be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist that same day. Most commonly, it is treated via cryosurgery (the use of extreme cold to destroy the cells). A prescription may also be given to apply at home in order to prevent regrowth. In some cases, a biopsy may be performed to remove the wart and confirm the diagnosis.