Dealing with a Wart Under Fingernails


Warts are an omnipresent issue seen virtually worldwide, affecting up to 1 in every 10 people. Out of school-aged children, this number rises between 10 percent and 20 percent. Those with weakened immune systems and who work in meat handling professions are more likely to be affected by warts – they can occur at any age, but it is rare for them to appear during infancy or early childhood. Statistics suggest that prevalence spikes between 12 and 16 years old.

Common Warts

Common warts or verruca vulgaris are recognizable and can be distinguished from other kinds of warts, such as genital warts. They usually manifest on hands, fingers, and nongenital areas like the feet, legs, arms, or back. Notorious for their unmistakable appearance in size and texture, common warts typically present with a raised skin protrusion that is oval/round shaped when observed closely – featuring hard edges but soft within its center.

Plantar warts usually appear as small, hard bumps with tiny black dots. A plantar wart is commonly found on the soles of feet.

What Are Warts Under Fingernails?

Although they lack the typical aesthetic of a common wart or a more easily identifiable type, warts under fingernails still qualify as such. Subungual and periungual warts are two types of bothersome, painful warts that often occur in the grooves around your finger or under your nail. Subungual warts are located beneath the fingernail and can be challenging to treat because they are hidden. Meanwhile, periungual warts occur along the side or lengthwise on the edge of your nails – either completely covered by it, forming a raised shape around it, or creating an unpleasant rounded mass encircling it.

Causes And Symptoms Of Warts Under Fingernails

Skin warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV virus is extremely contagious. Human papillomaviruses can spread from person to person, or even on various parts of your body – by direct contact with a wart or coming into contact with objects previously touched by an infected individual. Nail biters may also have an increased risk of contracting the health issue.

So, if you plan to enhance your nails, consider going to a reputable nail salon and using clean nail clippers.

Periungual Warts

Periungual warts are typically small and painless; however, they can become more pronounced with time. When left untreated, these warts may cause discomfort to the affected area, disrupt your nails’ usual growth pattern, or even split skin around the nail bed. Moreover, if not managed properly, a periungual wart may disfigure one’s cuticles and fingernails.

You can prevent warts from spreading by washing your hands often and avoiding biting your nails. For prolonged exposure to water, make sure to wear protective gloves to protect your hands adequately. Additionally, properly disinfect any nail-cutting tool after each usage for maximum safety and good hygiene.

hand and foot

How To Cure Warts Under Fingernails?

Periungual warts can be difficult to treat, as they often come back and spread further than before. There is no known cure for warts. Wart treatments reduce symptoms while clearing any visible indication of warts. Treating warts is essential to prevent periungual warts from spreading and to prevent squamous cell carcinoma from developing.

There is no single treatment method for warts since studies have been conducted regarding effective methods of wart removal. It may require combination treatment to prevent a recurrence.

When you treat warts under the fingernail, you should follow dermatologists’ guidelines. A doctor can prescribe topical treatments or creams to treat subungual and periungual warts. Home remedies are also an option for wart treatment. But more research is necessary to determine their effectiveness. Here are some effective ways to treat periungual warts.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid has been thoroughly investigated for the treatment of periungual warts. It was found to be the most effective treatment for nongenital cutaneous warts. Although this means it is slow-acting and needs multiple applications over several weeks, salicylic acid can succeed by destroying the affected skin – but this could potentially irritate your skin. While you can buy salicylic acid products over the counter, you should consult your medical practitioner before utilizing them.

Pulsed Dye Laser Therapy

Laser treatment is a highly effective treatment for simple warts, with rates of successful treatment going over 95 percent. Facial and anogenital wart cases also yielded excellent results. Recalcitrant and peripheral warts displayed a range of efficacy from 50 percent to 100 percent. The rates of recurrent subungual viral warts after photodynamic therapy were as low as 0% and up to 15%.

Surgical Removal

When the periungual wart becomes severe or is causing complications, complete removal of the wart through surgical treatment may be necessary. However, this isn’t a feasible approach for everyone. Curettage and cautery – often referred to as ‘surgery’ – consists of several stages. Firstly, surgeons remove warts by scraping them away before using heat to close the wound to prevent infection. Though success rates are relatively high at 65 to 85 percent, there’s still a chance that you could experience scarring or even have your wart come back again in approximately 30 percent of cases.


Cryotherapy is a popular procedure for treating warts which involves freezing them off using liquid nitrogen. It can often be quicker than salicylic acid, but it may take three to four treatments with three weeks in between each one. The success rate for this treatment is between 50 and 70 percent.

Other treatments, such as chemical peels and intralesional interferons, are also available. Although studies indicate that these treatments can effectively treat warts under fingernails, it is crucial to seek advice from an experienced dermatologist before commencing any of them to avoid an allergic reaction that may affect the skin cells.

Warts under the fingernail can be a problematic nuisance to treat. While there is no known cure, various treatments may help reduce symptoms and clear away any visible indications of warts. Seeking advice from an experienced dermatologist before commencing any treatment is essential.


Frequently Asked Questions

1) How do I get rid of a wart under my fingernail?

Topical creams and home remedies are the most common treatments for warts under the fingernail. You can also try salicylic acid, pulsed dye laser therapy, cryotherapy, or surgical removal to treat periungual warts.

2) What does a fingernail wart look like?

A fingernail wart can look like a small, hard bump with tiny black dots. It is usually located under the nail, along the side, or lengthwise on the edges of your nails.

3) Does nail polish remove warts?

No, nail polish does not remove warts. However, it can help to cover up the wart until you can get professional treatment.

4) Can apple cider vinegar get rid of fingernail warts?

Apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy for warts, but it is not scientifically proven effective in treating fingernail warts. It may irritate the skin and should only be used after consulting a doctor.

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