How can I tell if a skin bump is a wart?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The only way to tell for sure if a skin bump is a wart is to ask your doctor. Warts are small skin growths caused by an infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). There are different types of warts such as common warts, genital warts, plantar warts, periungual warts, and flat warts. Your doctor can examine the wart and recommend treatment measures, if any.

If the wart is on your fingers, hands, knees, or elbows, it may be a common skin wart, which can occur anywhere on the skin. Warts that occur under or around your fingernails or toenails are called periungual or subungual warts. If the wart is on the soles of your feet, it may be a plantar wart. Skin bumps on your face, hands, and lower legs could be a flat wart. Only your doctor can tell for sure, so be sure to get a medical opinion about any skin bump.
Lisa J. Broyles, MD
Family Medicine


Warts can come in all shapes and sizes and can be anywhere.  They are usually flesh colored and raised, and rarely have any dark color to them.  They are most common on the hands and soles of the feet, also in children and athletes with close physical contact such as wrestlers.  Warts are generally harmless, although some people choose to have them removed for cosmetic reasons or due to pain.   In general skin bumps that are dark brown to black, irregularly shaped, bigger than the head of a pencil, and or growing quickly should be looked at by your doctor and are probably not warts. 
Picture of wart

Continue Learning about Warts

Warts

Where warts grow determines the best course of treatment. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes warts, which frequently appear on the hands. They can be embarrassing on the face and itch or hurt if they grow on the soles of the ...

feet or appear in or around the genitals. Doctors do not recommend over-the-counter wart-removal medications for warts on the face or for genital warts. Some warts require stronger prescription medication or a surgical technique that includes freezing, burning or laser treatment.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.