Viral Warts

This information is useful for children, adults, and older adults
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Yale Medicine dermatologists offer specialized expertise in the treatment of all skin conditions.
  • We offer a novel form of treatment for resistant viral warts called immunotherapy.
  • Viral warts treated with immunotherapy don't tend to recur.

While having warts can be annoying—even embarrassing—they are often treatable and not harmful. 

Common warts, flat warts, and plantar warts are viral infections of the skin (most originating from the human papillomavirus or HPV family, but not the strains associated with cancer).

“Viruses like to infect through cuts in the skin,” says Yale Medicine dermatologist Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD. “Picking of the warts (or biting them) can lead to spread of the virus, including around the mouths of kids.” 

Two common locations for warts in both kids and adults are the hands and feet. Palmar (hand) and plantar (feet) warts can prove very difficult to get rid of. “There are many treatments available, from over the counter to prescription, but perhaps the most important key is consistent attack against the wart until it is resolved,” says Dr. Bunick.

Ultimately, warts are benign. “They can be a nuisance, occasionally cause discomfort, and often people don’t like the way they look, but in the end they are not harmful,” he says.

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.