Types of warts

Warts are the most common type of skin infection. They are infections of the skin with the human papilloma virus. There are more than 100 different strains of the human papilloma virus.  Usually warts start growing after infection with one or more strains of HPV. The virus makes the top layers of the skin grow rapidly, creating the different non-cancerous skin growth. It can be difficult to tell warts apart from other skin conditions, such as skin tags, moles and actinic keratosis. The characteristics and symptoms of warts depend on the type of warts. There are 8 categories of viral warts in general, usually classified by both their location on the body and their appearance. 


  • Plantar wart or foot warts (verrucas)  
    The term ‘plantar warts’ is used for those warts that occur under the bottom of your feet. The bottom of your foot is its ‘plantar’ surface. These warts are also called verrucas because the latin word for them is verrucae.

 

  • ​​Verrucas
    Verrucas look like hard, thick patches of skin with dark specks. They usually grow back into the skin because the weight of the person, that pushes the warts onto the sole of the foot. Foot warts can be painful especially when present on weight-bearing areas of the foot during standing and walking. It is common for plantar warts to have clotted blood vessels appearing as black dot in the middle, with a surrounding hard, white area. Plantar warts (verrucas) include one or more tender inwardly growing ‘myrmecia’ on the sole of the foot. Plantar warts are sometimes located on the heel and toes.

 

  • Mosaic wart
    A mosaic wart is usually a group of plantar warts tightly clustered together in a small area on the foot. Mosaic warts are most often due to untreated warts that grow to an inch or more in circumference of the foot. They spread into clusters of several warts. They often develop on the palms of the hands and as palmar warts on the soles of feet.

 

  • Flat warts / Plane warts (verruca plana)
    Flat warts, also referred to as plane warts or water warts. They are flat, smooth and are normally round shaped. Their colour is usually yellowish, brownish or skin colour. Plane warts often called juvenile warts, probably because they are seen most often in children. They arise usually on the face, hands, neck, or legs, and tend to grow in significant numbers of 20 to 100 all clustered together at a time Plane Warts are caused by the HPV virus. Water wart, or Molluscum contagiosum are caused by a poxvirus 

 

  • Verruca
    The term ‘plantar warts’ is used for those warts that occur under the bottom of your feet. The bottom of your foot is its ‘plantar’ surface. These warts are also called verrucas. 
    Verrucas look like hard, thick patches of skin with dark specks. Plantar warts are sometimes located on the heel and toes. They usually grow back into the skin because the weight of the person, that pushes the warts onto the sole of the foot. Foot warts can be painful especially when present on weight-bearing areas of the foot during standing and walking. It is common for plantar warts to have clotted blood vessels appearing as black dot in the middle, with a surrounding hard, white area. 
    Plantar warts (verrucas) include one or more tender inwardly growing ‘myrmecia’ on the sole of the foot. 

 

  • Seed wart or Common warts (verruca vulgaris)
    Common warts, also known as seed wart, arise most often on the backs of fingers or toes, and on the knees. Common warts can be easily recognized by the rough, cauliflower-like appearance of the surface. Common warts may appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the knuckles, fingers, and elbows. These warts on hands and fingers are thickened bumps. And they are also known as papules or plaques. They may have some tiny black or dark dots. Those dots are clotted blood vessels. Often people think the dots are the actual wart “seed”. But they’re not. Common warts tend to cause no discomfort unless they are in areas of repeated friction or pressure.

Other types of common warts

  • ​Periungual warts prefer to grow at the sides or under the nails and can distort nail growth. 
  • Filiform warts, they're the kind that witches in movies and fairy tale books have on their chins or noses. A filiform wart has a finger-like shape and usually is flesh-coloured. It often grows on or around the mouth, eyes, or nose.
  • Oral warts can affect the lips and even inside the cheeks. They include squamous cell papillomas. 
  • Genital warts are often transmitted sexually and grow on genitals. Genital warts predispose to cervical, penile and vulval cancer. See your GP if you have genital warts or you're not sure.