Warts and verrucas are common inflictions that usually appear on the hands and feet. Their appearance can vary, but typically they resemble small lumps that develop on the skin. These lumps can appear singularly or in clusters. Certain warts are more likely to affect particular areas of the body. For example, warts that develop on the soles of the feet are called verrucas. Warts and verrucas will affect most people at some point in their life, however, they tend to be more prevalent in children and teenagers.
Warts are caused by the infection Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This virus causes the body to produce excess amounts of keratin, which is a hard protein, to develop in the epidermis. This surplus keratin accumulates to produce the hard, rough texture of a wart or verruca.
Warts and verrucas can be contagious if close skin-to-skin contact occurs. Potentially, it can also be passed on through direct contact with contaminated objects, such as towels or communal changing room floors. A wart is believed to be contagious for as long as it is present on the body. The virus will more likely spread when the skin is soft or wet, or if it has been in contact with a coarse surface.
It is also possible for the infection to spread to other areas of the same body. This can happen through biting, scratching or knocking a wart, or shaving your face or legs. These actions can cause the wart to break-up and bleed, which makes the infection easier to spread.
It is important to note that warts can resemble certain cancers, though warts and verrucas are not cancerous.