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Providing NHS services


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Warts are small lumps on your skin, rough in texture, and dry to look at. Most often you will get them on your hands or feet and you might just have one on its own or a few may develop together.

If it is on your foot it is known as a verruca.

Warts are caused by a viral infection called the human papillomavirus (HPV). The virus can be spread from person to person or by touching an already contaminated surface.



There are a number of different types of warts, and this will affect the appearance and symptoms that accompany them.

Below is a list of a few common types of warts:


  • Common warts: Round in shape and will be slightly raised and rough. They usually develop on the knuckles or knees.
  • Verrucas: Small warts that occur on the soles of the feet. They look different from a common wart, being white, sometimes with a black spot in the middle. They are flat and can be slightly painful and itchy.
  • Planter or palmer warts: Common in children and develop on the hands (palmer) or bottom of the feet (planter). They can grow together and develop clusters.
  • Periungual warts: These occur around or under the nails on either your hands or feet. They are rough in texture and can sometimes be painful
  • Plane warts: These are flat warts, which can develop in clusters. They are usually yellow in colour and grow on hands, legs and face.
  • Filiform warts: These warts have a long, yellow, brown or pink stalk that only appears on your face and neck.
  • Genital warts: They are soft and appear on the genitals and are sexually transmitted. They often cause itching and discomfort.



Many warts will clear up on their own, but this may take up to several years. If you are worried about your wart, you can speak to our experts for more advice. You should also speak to one of our experts if your wart is:


  • Painful
  • Bleeding
  • Keeps returning
  • On your face
  • On your genitals


A common way to treat warts is salicylic acid. This can be found in the form of gels, pads, drops and plasters. This medication dissolves the skin protein which makes up a significant portion of the wart mass.


Another way to treat warts is through the freezing method (cryotherapy). These sprays create a temperature of minus 57 Celsius which cause the wart to fall off in a number of weeks.


If you are concerned about your warts, you can visit an Ahmeys healthcare professional who will undertake an examination which will involve looking at the affected area, identifying and diagnosing it and recommending the appropriate treatment. If needed, we are able to refer you to a skin specialist for further treatment.

Faheem Ahmed

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Providing NHS services

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Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2LA
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01865 689 149

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