A wart is a small growth on the skin which happens when viruses like Human Papillomavirus (HPV) comes in direct contact with the skin to cause an infection. Usually, these are benign (non-cancerous) and likely to develop in the area where you get a cut or if the skin gets damaged. Unfortunately, warts are contagious and can spread when you get in direct or indirect contact with another wart.
Commonly, warts will feel rough, be skin-coloured and flat. But, in some cases, these can also be smooth and dark like in grey or black else brown.
Types of Wart:
When a person’s weight exerts too much pressure on the sole of the foot, then such warts can grow on the skin of feet, toes else heels. Here, a common phenomenon observed is that most of these warts are surrounded by white tissue which is hard and has a central black dot in small size. These are often tough to clear and can make you feel uncomfortable while you walk.
Verruca Vulgaris (Common Warts)
These warts have a rough surface, are firm and raised in appearance. Though these can occur at any part of the body, yet knuckles, elbows, fingers, and knees are a few common areas where these can are found. Especially, if there is broken skin. Often, those blood vessels which are clotted are visible through Common Warts. These will appear like dark spots and small in size which is technically referred to as Seed Warts.
These are noncancerous warts which usually occur on hands. A major reason behind this is the infection of the skin caused by human papillomavirus or HPV. Commonly, these could go on their own in a year or two even without treatment.
As a matter of fact, warts are usually harmless. But at times, strains of HPV can lead to warts surrounding the genitals. These can be serious and, thus, should not be overlooked. In women, they can result in anal, cervical & vulvovaginal cancer as well. Whereas, in men, such genital warts can cause infection which can lead to cancer of glans penis and anal cancer.
Causes of Warts:
- HPV or human papillomavirus causes rapid and uncontrollable growth of keratin that is a hard protein. This is usually found on the top layer of the skin. Non-identical HPV strains are a major reason behind different warts.
- The virus which causes such warts are contagious and can be easily passed on. These can be both direct (skin to skin contact) as well as indirect (touching or sharing shared clothes, towels or shoes).
- Usually, such a virus spread to other parts of the body if you scratch or bite a wart or fingernails (if there are warts), suck fingers, shave face else legs (causing cuts). In fact, even damaged or wet skin that comes into direct contact with a rough surface is at high risk of such infection.
- Cryotherapy – These can be used to treat Common Warts found in adults or older children. Often, cryotherapy or freezing is performed using a liquid (likely nitrogen). Basically, the liquid is sprayed on the wart which ultimately destroys the cells. Though the treatment does not cause much pain, yet people who have dark skin can get dark spots as well.
- Cantharidin: This is a treatment where the specialist paints the wart using Cantharidin. Here, the substance to be applied on the affected area is derived from an insect, namely, blister beetle which is also mixed with few chemicals. Within a week, this will turn the wart dead which will later be removed by the doctor.
- Electrosurgery and Curettage: Electrosurgery (also known as burning) is a popular technique to be used for treating common warts, foot warts and filiform warts. Curettage (or curetting) simply includes scraping off the wart. This can be done using a sharp knife or a spoon-shaped tool which is usually small in size. Commonly, both of these procedures are followed simultaneously where the curetting part is either done before or after electrosurgery.
- Laser Treatment: This is used as an option when all the wart fails to respond to any other type of treatment else therapy. However, to get the best results without causing you much pain, the anaesthetic injection might be used by the doctor. This is done before the treatment to numb the wart.
Warts can cause embarrassment, but you must know that these are common. Also, these can go on their own, yet if they don’t or cause trouble, the seeking assistance from an expert practitioner can let you eliminate them with ease.