Warts (sometimes referred to as verrucae) are small, harmless lumps of skin caused by a virus known as the human papilloma virus (HPV).
A wart will usually have a flesh coloured appearance and the skin forming the wart will be rough.
Types of warts
There are several different types of warts, each with a slightly different appearance:
- common warts – these are small, raised areas of skin, usually round, with a rough surface of skin often looking like the top of a cauliflower. These warts often appear on your hands, elbows and knees.
- plane warts – these are flat warts that are usually yellow in colour and appear on the hands and face. They are most common in children and can often spread and group together.
- plantar warts – these are warts that appear on your feet, usually on the sole, heel or toes. The weight of your body causes the wart to be pushed into the skin so a plantar wart will usually not be raised like other warts and may even cause some discomfort when walking. You may notice a white area of skin with a tiny black dot or dots in the centre.
- filiform warts – these are long, thin warts that usually appear on your eyelids, armpits or neck.
- mosaic warts – these grow in clusters and are most common on your hands and feet.
Most warts will usually disappear within two years if left untreated, but they can sometimes cause discomfort and can look unpleasant. Warts are also contagious.
There are treatments available to buy over-the-counter without prescription from pharmacies and some supermarkets. Please speak to your doctor about other treatment options for warts.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your warts or verrucas, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Last reviewed: September 2017