Are All Warts Caused by HPV: Unraveling the Wart Web

Harman Kaur
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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are all warts caused by hpv

Warts, commonly small skin growths with a rough texture, are primarily caused by various strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV). 

HPV is a widespread group of viruses, and while over 100 types exist, a subset specifically targets the skin, leading to wart formation. 

These viral infections result from direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated surfaces. 

While most warts are benign and pose minimal health risks, their connection to HPV emphasizes the importance of understanding and preventing the spread of this prevalent virus. 

This introduction sets the stage for exploring the link between warts and HPV, shedding light on a common dermatological concern.

Are all Warts equal

Although HPV is the primary cause of most warts, it’s important to understand that not all warts result from this virus. 

Different kinds of warts can be caused by other viruses, such as the Molluscum Contagiosum virus, highlighting the variety of these skin growths.

Recommended Article
Are you looking for an in-depth article on the symptoms of HPV, go through the article HPV Symptoms: What to Watch for and Why?

Types of warts

WartsSource: Denisfilm_From_Getty_Images
Warts in mouth

In a 2019 report, it was noted that warts can manifest on various parts of the body. 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), these skin growths are typically rough and skin-colored, although they may also appear dark, smooth, and flat. 

Despite the potential for itching, pain, tightness, or a feeling of pressure, warts generally do not cause additional symptoms. 

It is important to understand that different strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are responsible for causing warts. 

Common warts

As per the AAD, common warts commonly develop on the fingers, nails, toes, or the back of the hand, with occasional occurrences on the knees. 

These warts typically emerge in areas of compromised skin, like around bitten fingernails or pulled hangnails. 

They exhibit a rough texture and can range in size from a pinhead to a pea, often containing small, seed-like black dots. 

A specific type of common wart, resembling cauliflower in appearance, is referred to as a butcher’s wart.

Plantar warts

Plantar warts typically emerge on the feet or ankles, and physicians commonly label those growing on the soles and toes as verrucas. 

Exhibiting a thick, calloused appearance, plantar warts often display black dots on the surface. 

Given their location on the soles, these warts are generally flat, allowing a person to press them inward while walking.

This potentially causes discomfort and a sensation akin to a pebble in the shoe. 

As noted in a 2019 article, mosaic warts, forming in clusters, typically appear on the ball of the foot or toes but can extend to cover various areas on the sole.

Genital warts

Genital warts, classified as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), typically present with no additional symptoms. 

However, depending on their size and location, they may induce pain or itchiness. 

Displaying a spectrum of colors from pink to dark brown, genital warts can manifest as flat, bumpy growths or extend from the skin on stalks. 

A 2015 article highlights potential locations for genital warts, including the vagina, vulva, cervix, urethra, penis, scrotum, and anus. 

Warts stemming from the same HPV strain may also appear on the lips or inside the mouth, referred to as mucosal warts.

Flat warts

Flat warts, also known as plane warts, exhibit a slightly raised and smooth appearance. 

Typically light brown, these warts most commonly develop on the forehead and cheeks. 

However, they can also emerge on the hands, lower arms, and legs.


Warts, though often benign, present a diverse spectrum influenced by different strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). 

Understanding the variations in common, plantar, genital, and flat warts is crucial for effective recognition, management, and prevention. 

While HPV is a predominant factor, it’s essential to recognize the role of other viruses in wart formation, highlighting the complexity of these dermatological conditions. 

Vigilance, hygiene, and awareness of the distinct characteristics of each wart type contribute to comprehensive health practices.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you have a wart without HPV?

Common warts result from HPV infection, while water warts, or molluscum contagiosum, stem from the molluscum contagiosum virus. Both infections manifest as small, painless raised bumps or lesions on the skin, often appearing in groups, and generally resolve without intervention.

Do all warts mean you have HPV?

Common warts arise from infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), which comprises over 150 types. However, only a handful cause hand warts. Certain HPV strains are transmitted through sexual contact, highlighting the diverse nature of this virus and its association with various health concerns.

Are non STD warts contagious?

Warts, irrespective of type, are contagious. They can impact any body region, with fingers, hands, and feet being common sites. Filiform warts commonly develop on the face. Despite their contagious nature, warts are generally benign and typically devoid of pain.

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