How Athletes Are Susceptible to Warts

Doctor looking at a patient's wart How Athletes Are Susceptible to Warts

While athletes are experts in the realm of sports, it's still important to take note of important cosmetic dermatology knowledge. For instance, athletes may be more susceptible to developing warts. If you're an athlete, here's what you need to know.

How to Identify and Treat Warts

What Causes Warts?

Warts form when skin cells grow at an abnormally fast rate as a result of human papillomavirus (HPV). Of all HPV strains, an estimated 10 can contribute to the formation of skin (cutaneous) warts. Since HPV is primarily spread from skin-to-skin contact, this means that athletes who participate in team sports or contact sports are more likely to contract HPV and develop warts. Fortunately, HPV isn't incredibly contagious. That said, in most cases, people don't even remember coming into contact with a case of HPV because the infection can take so long to appear. Being in humid environments and shared public spaces are also contributing factors to why athletes are more susceptible to warts. Spending time in shared locker and shower rooms can mean even more opportunities to come into contact with HPV and risk developing warts.

Are There Different Types of Warts?

There are a few different types of warts. First, there's the common wart, also known as verruca vulgaris. These warts typically develop on the fingers and hands. They may be pale or flesh-toned in color and can have dark specs in them. Next, there are flat warts. Also called verruca plana, these warts are either completely flat or only slightly elevated. Most are fairly small and skin-colored. These warts are most common on the face and back of the hands. Finally, we have plantar warts, also known as verruca plantaris. These warts typically develop on the soles of the feet and tend to be flat as a result of the pressure from walking. They're often covered with calluses and can be painful while walking or running.

How Can You Get Rid of Warts?

Just like any other kind of skin rash, there are a few tried and true home remedies for warts. While warts can be irritating, they're fairly easy to treat. Here are a few common ways to get rid of warts that every athlete should know about but consulting with a dermatologist before attempting any of these is recommended.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is most commonly used as a treatment for acne, but it's possible to use this product to treat a number of skin conditions. That includes warts! If you want to use salicylic acid for wart treatment, the first thing you'll need to do is soak the affected area in warm water and file away any excess skin. After that, apply your salicylic acid, and you're good to go. For best results, repeat this treatment several times daily.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is one of the most common wart treatments out there. You can do this at home with an over-the-counter kit, but it's typically best if you leave this one to your dermatologist. During a cryotherapy treatment, liquid nitrogen will be swabbed or sprayed on your wart. After three to five treatments, you'll likely start to see positive results.


Whether you're a casual athlete or gearing up to play with the pros, make sure you're aware of your risk for developing warts. If you think you have a wart, set up a consultation with our team at North Pacific Dermatology today.

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