Warts are hard, dry, dome-shaped growths on the skin. The surface may resemble the head of a cauliflower, with black dots inside. Besides being very unsightly, visible warts on your fingers are embarrassing, can be bothersome and socially debilitating, and may bleed and cause pain when bumped.
Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection of the skin is the typical cause of warts. There are numerous types of the HPV virus, which can lead to warts developing anywhere on your body. Warts that grow on your fingers are defined as common warts.
HPV tends to infect the skin through warm, moist areas, like small cuts or scratches on your fingers. Biting your fingernails or picking at hangnails may exacerbate the condition, making the exposed skin less protected and creating the opportunity for the infection to develop. When this occurs, the virus causes the top layer of skin to grow rapidly, forming the wart.
Warts are very contagious. People can pass the virus from one individual to another through contact with a personal item that someone has touched, such as a towel or a bathmat, or through close physical contact.
Because the virus is so infectious, it is easy to spread the virus from one area of your body to another. Rubbing, scratching or picking at the warts can spread the virus to another body part or cause the wart to become infected.
Not everyone is susceptible to the HPV virus. It is possible that a strong immune system can make an individual more resistant to the infection. Even though there is no way to prevent warts, keeping your fingers clean, particularly where there may be broken skin, can help to minimize the transmission of the virus.