Types of Warts
May 10, 2012 Wart Removal
Warts are not all the same. They come in various different shapes, colours and sizes. They are divided according to their specific type. While this paper will not look at genital and other forms of harmful warts, it will discuss various other types caused by HPV. These include the common wart, the Flat Wart, the Filiform or Digitate wart, Plantar warts, Mosaic warts and Periungal warts. Each variety has its own characteristics. This includes colour and growth patterns. Each type of wart may be more commonly located on one or more specific body parts.
The Common Wart
The Common Wart is the Verruca vulgaris. It is a small, rough, flesh-colored growth. They are firm in shape. They are also well-defined and clearly delineated. Sometimes, the growth is described as grayish with a cauliflower-shape. A Common Wart may grow up to ¼” in width. Generally, they are small in size.
The growth pattern of Common Warts varies. They may develop as a single unit. Yet, a single Common Wart can also spread, becoming multiple units. Furthermore, several Common Warts may join together to create a small cluster. These clusters may become visible suddenly. They may also disappear as quickly and completely as they came.
Common Warts may appear on various parts of the body. They are on the fingers, the back of hands, on feet, toes, knees and the face. In general, however, they are more common on the hands. This is particularly true for children. Common Warts are often found on the hands of children aged between 5 and 10 years old. Common Warts are not a pleasant sight. They can be quite ugly. While not harmful, there is a specific type of Verruca that is painful. This is the Plantar Wart.
Plantar Warts are known under the scientific name of Verruca pedis. This refers to their position - on the foot. Pedum, pedi is Latin for foot. While a kind of Common Wart, Plantar Warts differ in a few ways from the average wart. This is mainly the result of their location - on the bottom of the foot. This affects their growth pattern. It also creates a situation where the wart is painful.
Plantar Warts are firm, rough-surfaced lumps of flesh. They are dark-brownish in color. They are rough and often crumbly looking. Plantar Warts do not resemble the average Common Wart. They are even flatter than Flat Warts. In some instances, Plantar Warts may be mistaken for calluses. Yet, Plantar Warts may be more detectable when they grow in clusters or obtain full size.
This type of Common Wart may appear as a single wart. It can be a small, solitary, somewhat-rounded lesion on the sole of your foot. The lesion is clearly marked by tiny “seeds.” These are small black dots. Each Plantar Wart may have 1 or 2 of these black pinpoints on their surface. The spots are actually capillaries. They are clotted. This is the result of the very rapid skin growth brought about by the viral wart.
A Plantar Wart may crop up on your foot as an individual lump. It may even start off as a small entity. This is not likely, however, to remain the case. Warts have a tendency to grow. This is particularly true if they are in the right environment. If the Plantar Wart continues to thrive, it may reach a circumference of 1" or more.
A Plantar Wart does not always go solo. It may also appear in and create a group. These are often referred to as clusters. When Plantar Warts are clustered together, the term frequently used to describe the growth pattern and type of wart is mosaic. These Mosaic Warts may cover as much as 4" across your skin.
Whatever shape they take Plantar Warts are specific in their location. They can appear on the top of your toes. When they do so, they are raised and fleshy. However, this is not their favored place. Plantar Warts are more commonly located on the sole of the foot. In fact, in both children and young adults (ages 12-16), Plantar Warts are usually found on the ball and heel of a foot. The result is painful for the child or teen for several reasons.
The skin of the foot is thicker than that of the face, hands and other parts of your body. As a result, Plantar Warts are tougher in design. They are also harder to treat. The skin is at least 2 times thicker creating questions? Can topical medications for wart removal handle the task?
Warts of the sole of the foot create another issue. When you walk, you place the eight on the bottom of your foot. This increased and intense pressure affects the growth pattern of the wart. The Plantar Wart is forced to grow inwards instead of outwards. The support system of the wart penetrates deeper into the thick skin. This causes pain. It also makes Plantar Warts difficult to treat.
The incidence of Plantar Warts is common for a variety of reasons. The wart thrives in warm and moist environments. This describes perfectly the settings of many child-friendly areas or entertainment venues. This includes splash parks and swimming pools as well as the cracked tile floors of public showers and the communal gym spaces.
As noted above, mosaic Warts is a term applied to a group or cluster of Plantar Warts. The term Mosaic Warts may also apply to a knot of Common Warts with Plantar Wart-like characteristics. This grouping is also called a plaque.
Mosaic Warts are Common Warts. They present a more serious problem than either a single Plantar Wart or a group of other Common Warts. This is especially applicable to Mosaic Warts located on the sole of the foot. This is not only an issue of discomfort but of treatment.
The depth of the roots of Mosaic Warts is affected by the varied surface. Some members of this plaque are on higher levels than others. The group is also irregular in shape. The thick and dry skin they inhabit may often dry out and crack. This leaves the skin open to other infectious incursions.
Adding to the problem is the arrangement of the Mosaic Warts. The individual warts are tightly packed together. This creates problems of sorting out the various individual warts. Overall, Mosaic Warts on the foot create a challenge for treatment.
The Flat Wart
The scientific term for the Flat Wart is Verruca plana. It is a type of Common Wart. This growth is also referred to as the Plane Wart. Furthermore, because of its tendency to appear on children and young adults, it is also called “Juvenile Warts.”
Distinguishing characteristics of this type of wart include its size and texture. The Flat Wart is small. In fact, it may be described as pin-sized. It may range from only 1 to 5 mm. This is less than a ¼”. The growths are smooth and pink, yellowish-brown or flesh-colored. The surface of the wart is usually slightly raised. The lumps are marked out by a flat top on this surface.
Flat Warts are rarely found alone. Of all the warts, Flat Warts commonly appear in multiple groups. These can range from 20 to 100. They also tend to form a pattern. This can be the result of a trauma or, more likely, from scratching. Flat Warts may be itchy. As a result, a child will scratch the wart. This opens up susceptible skin for the HPV infection. The wart then expands along the scratch line.
To add to the problem of numbers is the location. Flat Warts grow on the face hands and shin, forearms, knees and neck. Among children and adolescents, however, Flat Warts are more commonly located on the wrist and face. It is this latter location that creates 2 problems. It accounts for an initial misconception the warts may actually be acne. It also creates social discomfort. Flat Warts on the face are extremely embarrassing for youth.
Among adults, Flat Warts tend to be present on the face and legs. They form on male adults close to the beard. This is the result of shaving. It is here the irritated and broken skin is most susceptible to this specific type of HPV. For female adults, legs are the target area. This is true only for those who shave. As in the case of beards, the skin becomes broken and irritated. It is thus more open for an incursion.
Flat Warts are harmless but tend to be persistent. They may remain for several years. Their numbers are also a factor in treatment. Their spread pattern and sheer numbers makes treatment more difficult.
The Filiform Wart
Filiform Warts are an interesting variant of Verruca. Unlike Plantar, Common or Flat Warts, this type is elongated in shape. Filiform Warts are slender. They are often described as finger-like or referred to as thread-like. This contrasts with the cauliflower, flat or round shapes of most Warts.
Like other warts, Filiform Warts have a preferred body area of the host. They are generally located on the face. They particularly are found around the eyes and the eyelids. They hang their like hairy appendages.
Filiform Warts are often on children’s faces. They may also be on adults. Generally the adults who have Filiform growths are middle-aged and/or over weight. While preferring the face, Filiform Warts may also be found on the neck and in the arm pits. Their location may make them a problem to remove through topical methods.