Do Warts Have Roots?

Warts are nothing but a benign tumour that caused by human papillomavirus. Human skin has three different layers – epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous.

HPV – a double-strand DNA virus has various sub-types can lead to different types of wart growth on the skin. Some subtypes of this can also trigger cervical cancer.[01] When it infects the skin, it always stays in the bottom layer of the epidermis and forms a wart.

But do warts have roots?

[thrive_text_block color=”blue”]Despite a common belief among the sufferers, warts do not have “roots”. The bottom of warts always remains smooth and they never grow in the dermis – the second layer of skin. [/thrive_text_block]

It’s been a myth since ages that skin or plantar warts have roots. But as define above, warts always remain in the topmost layer of skin i.e. epidermis. Even though they grow bigger, they can push the dermis layer down and remain in the epidermis but never penetrate this top layer.

Various Skin Layers with and without hairs
Source – by Madhero88

What does a plantar wart root look like?

People often mistake the callus for warts. You should always remember that warts never have any roots.

Callus and warts often look similar, but warts have some differentiating features that make it easy to diagnose a plantar wart.

Pain – Usually warts are painless tumours, but often plantar warts cause pain when squeezed from both side while callus can also cause pain when pressed deep in the skin.

Interrupted skin lines – When warts grow on the bottom of the foot, they interrupt the plantar skin lines, but callus always has continuous skin lines that run through the dead or harden skin.

Presence of black dots – Often, plantar warts shows the black or brownish dot, but calluses do not have them. These black dots are nothing but the capillaries that carries blood to the wart but often get thrombosed.[02]

Who will get warts?

Though warts can occur at any age, it is more prominently observed in children’s and young adults. They are caused by HPV, which spread by skin to skin contact. Genital warts spread via close genital contact that involves vaginal, anal or oral sex. Genital warts also termed as venereal warts.

People who come in contact with those who have warts can get infected with HPV, which eventually leads to a wart formation. Also, people with weak immunity are prone to get warts.

How to treat these warts?

In most cases, warts resolve on their own after several months of years, but there are several options available to treat warts for those who want to get rid of it as early as possible.

Salicylic Acid for warts

Various over the counter applications are available to remove warts that include salicylic acid as the main ingredient to combat the wart. These applications should be applied daily on warts until it fades away. [03] check out our review about wartrol to learn how it can help to get rid of warts.

Duct tape for warts

Duct tape often yields the good results as a home remedy for warts. It is found that plantar warts respond well to duct tape occlusion therapy. To learn how to use it, read our blog post on how to apply duct tape for warts?

Surgical Wart Removal

When all external application fails to remove the wart, surgery can be a great option to treat warts. The surgeon will anaesthetize skin surrounding the wart prior to removing or cauterizing the wart.

Freezing the Warts

To freeze the growth of wart or to remove it completely, your physician will apply the liquid nitrogen to the wart. This therapy is known as cryotherapy. It causes blister formation at the site of treatment which eventually converted into the crust and falls off.

Heat Treatment for Warts

Several studies show that heat therapy can also be an effective technique to get rid of warts. Usually, heat treatment is practised using a heat-producing device which can heat warts at 44-degree centigrades without touching the surrounding skin of the patient. [04]

Another placebo-controlled study that treated common hand warts shown the positive outcome. The study showed that using controlled localised heat therapy can cause effective regression of common hand warts. Usually, it occurs due to the direct destruction of warts by heat and promotion of an anti-inflammatory response by the body which eradicates the wart. [05]

[01]Emma J Crosbie, PhD Mark H Einstein, MD Silvia Franceschi, MD Prof Henry C Kitchener, MD ” Human papillomavirus and cervical cancer.” DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)60022-7
[02] J.M. Bae, H. Kang, H.O. Kim, Y.M. Park “Differential diagnosis of plantar wart from corn, callus and healed wart with the aid of dermoscopy.” DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2008.08937.x
[03] Parish LC, Monroe E, Rex IH Jr. “Treatment of common warts with high-potency (26%) salicylic acid.”
[04]The Journal of Infectious Diseases, published online March 3,
2010. By Joene Hendry. NEW YORK, Friday, March 19, 2010.
[05]Stern P, Levine N. “Controlled localized heat therapy in cutaneous warts.”