Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Warts

The human papillomavirus (HPV) causes warts. There are many types of human papillomaviruses, which is why there are different types of warts.

Preventing the spread of warts

The virus can spread from one part of the body to another or from one person to another. The infection is more likely to spread if the skin has a cut or injury. Kids are more likely to get warts on their arms and legs, where there are scrapes. Adults are more likely to get them where they shave, such as men’s faces and women’s legs.

To keep warts from spreading:

  • Don’t let the wart touch other parts of your body.
  • Don’t let the wart touch other people.
  • Don’t share anything that could have touched the wart, such as clothing, pillowcases, towels or shoes.
  • Cover plantar warts with socks or slippers while in the home and use shower shoes at the gym.

Diagnosing warts

To diagnose a wart, your physician usually just has to examine it. Rarely, a biopsy (tissue sample) of the wart must be taken and sent to a lab for analysis under a microscope.

Diagnostic Tests


Related Resources

American Academy of Dermatology*
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