Warts & Verrucas
The main symptom of a wart or verruca is a small, rough lump on the skin.
Treatments for a wart or a verruca include creams, plasters and sprays you can get from a pharmacy. A GP may also be able to remove it by freezing it.
Warts feel firm and rough. They can appear on palms, knuckles, knees and fingers
Warts are usually skin coloured but may appear darker on dark skin
Verrucas appear on your feet. They have tiny black dots under the hard skin
Some warts are round, flat and can be yellow (plane warts). You can have many of them
Clusters of warts, spread over an area of skin (mosaic warts) are common on feet and hands
Warts do not cause you any harm, but some people find them itchy, painful or embarrassing. Verrucas are more likely to be painful – like standing on a needle.
You can treat warts if they bother you, keep coming back or are painful.
A GP may be able to freeze a wart or verruca so it falls off a few weeks later. Sometimes it takes a few sessions.
Check with the GP if the NHS pays for this treatment in your area.
If treatment has not worked or you have a wart on your face, the GP might refer you to a skin specialist. Other treatments include minor surgery and treatment with laser or light.
Warts and verrucas are caused by a virus. They can be spread to other people from contaminated surfaces or through close skin contact. You're more likely to spread a wart or verruca if your skin is wet or damaged.
It can take months for a wart or verruca to appear after contact with the virus.
wash your hands after touching a wart or verruca
change your socks daily if you have a verruca
cover warts and verrucas with a plaster when swimming
take care not to cut a wart when shaving
do not share towels, flannels, socks or shoes if you have a wart or verruca
do not bite your nails or suck fingers with warts on
do not walk barefoot in public places if you have a verruca
do not scratch or pick a wart
Page last reviewed: 14-10-2020
Next review due:14-10-2023