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Warts: Signs and symptoms

Types of warts

There are a few different types of warts. The type is determined by where it grows on the body and what it looks like. The following describes the signs (what a person sees) and symptoms (what a person feels) for some of the different types of warts.

Common warts

(also called vurruca vulgaris)

Common warts have these traits:

  • Grow most often on the fingers, around the nails, and on the backs of the hands.

  • Are more common where skin was broken, such as from biting fingernails or picking at hangnails.

  • Can have black dots that look like seeds (often called "seed" warts).

  • Most often feel like rough bumps.

Wart under a child's nose

Children frequently get common warts. If you see a wart on your child's face, check your child's hands for warts. The virus can spread from the hands to the face through touch or nail biting.

A wart under a child's nose

Foot warts

(also called plantar warts)

Plantar warts have these traits:

  • Grow most often on the soles (plantar surface) of the feet

  • Can grow in clusters (mosaic warts)

  • Often are flat or grow inward (walking creates pressure, which causes the warts to grow inward)

  • Can hurt, feels like you have pebbles in your shoe

  • Can have black dots

Plantar warts

These warts appear on the sole of the foot and can be hard to treat.

Plantar warts on the sole of a foot

Flat warts

Flat warts have these traits:

  • Can occur anywhere. Children usually get them on the face. Men get these most often in the beard area, and women tend to get them on their legs.

  • Are smaller and smoother than other warts.

  • Tend to grow in large numbers, 20 to 100 at a time.

Filiform warts

Filiform warts have these traits:

  • Looks like long threads or thin fingers that stick out

  • Often grows on the face: around the mouth, eyes, and nose

  • Often grow quickly

HIV weakens the immune system

This boy has HIV, and warts cover his hands and other parts of his body.

Warts cover the hands of a boy with HIV

Related AAD resources

Images used with permission of the American Academy of Dermatology National Library of Dermatologic Teaching Slides.