Periungual warts commonly affect nail biters. Their size is small, like a pinhead that gradually develops into rough, dirty cluster-looking bumps resembling a cauliflower.
Like all other warts, periungual warts are caused by the human papillomavirus. Periungual warts are common in childhood and adolescence. In periungual warts, the area around the nails can become rigid and raised.
People having periungual or subungual warts try to relieve their pain and gain satisfaction by picking on warts. But this is the leading cause of the worsening and spreading of periungual warts.
The strains of HPV that most commonly cause periungual warts include:
The symptoms of periungual warts include:
- Small pinhead-sized, smooth, and translucent growth on or underneath your nails.
- Pinhead skin growth develops into a cauliflower-like shape.
- Warts change color to gray, brown, or black or forming clusters.
- Something interrupting your nail growth
- Larger warts causing pain and discomfort
You are at high risk of developing periungual warts if you:
- Are a nail biter
- Pick at your cuticles
- Frequently keep your hands in water. For example, if you have the job of washing dishes at a hotel or restaurant.
- Have atopic dermatitis (A skin condition called eczema that causes your skin to become red and itchy).
- Are immunocompromised
As periungual warts appear underneath or around the nails, they can be challenging to treat. It may require fully cutting your nails to reach warts deeply.
Other treatments for periungual warts are the same as other warts types. If warts on your nails are not severe or appear superficially on or around your nails, surgical treatment may not be necessary. Other treatment for periungual warts include:
- Salicylic acid application to the warts
- Topical medications
- Laser treatment
The prevention of periungual warts and their spreading include:
- Avoid biting or picking your fingernails or cuticles.
- Avoid washing hands very often
- If you have to keep your hands in water for a long time, wear protective gloves.
- Avoid sharing personal items like nail cutters or towels.
- If someone has periungual warts, avoid touching them.
- Practice good hygiene.
Periungual warts can damage your entire nailbed permanently. It can also cause a soft tissue infection known as paronychia.