What Causes Common Finger Warts?

Warts can show up almost anywhere on the human body, but they tend to affect certain areas. For example, plantar warts grow on the soles of the feet, while genital warts crop up in the pubic region. Finger warts are a common variety with the same underlying cause as their counterparts.


Common finger warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to the Mayo Clinic. The virus enters the body and triggers cells to grow rapidly on the skin's outer layer. This can happen on the finger, resulting in a visible growth known as a wart. It usually develops within two to six months of being infected by the virus.

Finger warts are contagious because the virus can be spread by direct contact with an affected person. Scratching or picking at a wart to the point where it becomes irritated or bleeds makes it more likely to spread on your own body and to be passed on to others. You can also spread it by biting your fingernails if it is in the nail area. The staff of the Mayo Clinic warns it can also be passed along by sharing personal items, such as towels, with someone who has finger warts.


A common finger wart can be recognized by its location and appearance. The Healthy Skin Guide website notes these warts usually grow near the fingernails. Nearby areas such as the back of the hand may also be affected. A common finger wart is firm and rough to the touch. It may be round or somewhat irregular in shape. Its color can range from yellow to brown to gray or black.


Finger warts are painless and will not cause any medical problems. They can cause distress in the affected person because they are very visible. The growths themselves are ugly, and other people may shy away from contact because they can be spread through touch. Finger warts go away on their own after a few months, but many people choose treatment to get rid of them more quickly because of the annoyance and embarrassment.


Treatment for finger warts does not directly attack the HPV. Instead it concentrates on removing the skin growth by freezing it or dissolving it with salicylic acid. Both of these remedies are available over the counter. Acid usually takes a few weeks to completely destroy the wart. Freezing works more quickly, often removing it within one or two applications.


Treatments for common finger warts do not directly attack the underlying HPV. This means you are at risk for more warts once you have conquered the original outbreak. Some people are prone to frequent growths, while others get a finger wart once and never have one again because the virus may remain dormant. You can use the same treatment if you find new warts on your fingers.