Are Warts Contagious?

07 Apr, 2024

Are Warts Contagious?

Warts are those pesky little bumps that seem to pop up out of nowhere. They can show up on your hands, feet, face, or even in more intimate places, causing frustration and a bit of embarrassment. While warts may not be the end of the world, they can be a nuisance, especially if they're in visible or uncomfortable locations.


In this brief article brough to you by Mid Penn Foot & Ankle Specialists, we explore the fundamentals of warts and investigate their contagious nature. If you are suffering from warts on your feet, then consider visiting a licensed podiatrist for proper foot care and treatment. The professionals at Mid Penn Foot & Ankle Specialists are here to schedule a convenient appointment today.

What are Warts?

Warts are common skin growths caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). They can appear on various parts of the body, including the hands, feet, face, and genital area. Warts can vary in appearance depending on the type but generally appear as small, flesh-colored or grayish bumps. They may have a rough or smooth texture.

Common types of warts include:


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  • Common Warts: These typically appear on the hands, fingers, and around the nails. They are rough, raised bumps with a cauliflower-like texture.
  • Plantar Warts: These develop on the soles of the feet, often in areas subjected to pressure. Plantar warts may cause discomfort or pain when walking.
  • Flat Warts: These are small, smooth warts that may appear on the face, arms, or legs. They can be slightly raised and are often numerous in one area.
  • Genital Warts: These warts appear on or around the genital and anal areas. They are sexually transmitted and are considered a different strain of HPV than the warts that appear on other parts of the body.

Are Warts Contagious?

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be spread through direct contact with warts or surfaces contaminated with the virus. HPV is highly contagious. The risk is especially great in environments where skin-to-skin contact is common, such as shared showers, swimming pools, gym facilities, and through activities like sports where there is close contact with others.

While warts are contagious, not everyone who is exposed to HPV will develop warts. Factors such as immune system strength and individual susceptibility can influence whether someone develops warts after exposure to the virus. Still, individuals who are exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV) but do not develop visible warts can still spread the virus to others.

Stopping the Spread

It's important to practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of spreading warts to others or developing new warts yourself. To help stop the spread:

  • Refrain from touching warts on yourself or others.
  • Avoid scratching or picking at them.
  • Periodically wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Cover warts with a bandage or waterproof tape.
  • Refrain from sharing personal items such as towels, razors, nail clippers, or socks.
  • Wear protective footwear, such as flip-flops or shower shoes, in communal areas like locker rooms, swimming pools, and public showers

See a Foot Doctor

If you are looking for a foot doctor to diagnose and treat your warts, then consider Mid Penn Foot & Ankle Specialists. We are happy to schedule an appointment or arrange a walk-in with a licensed foot specialist for as soon as possible.

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