The HPV strand that causes warts is highly contagious and can be spread by skin-to-skin contact with another person or from one part of the infected person's body to another area. Regularly scrubbing your fingernails and toenails, thoroughly drying your feet and wearing sandals or waterproof shoes in public showers can help with wart prevention.
The hands and feet are especially susceptible to HPV since they're in regular contact with many things that may be a carrier for the virus. HPV can enter the body through a cut or abrasion, so fingernail biting is a major contributor to wart growth on the hands. As you nibble at your nails, you can damage the skin around them, allowing the virus to enter [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. When the virus affects this area, abnormal cell growth under and around the nail bed can cause nails to grow abnormally, appear raised and permanently deform the nail. It's important to treat the abnormality as soon as a wart is diagnosed to prevent this type of long-term damage.
Since warts are caused by a virus, it's possible to remove the wart, but it could return if the virus is alive and well. It's also possible that someone who has the virus doesn't know it and never exhibits any symptoms. This makes it hard to avoid situations where you could come into contact with someone who is carrying the wart-causing virus, which is why sanitizing and cleaning are so important. Experts suspect that warts can be caused by stress in addition to physical contact [source: Associated Press].
Despite your best efforts at prevention, you may become infected with periungual warts. Treatment of warts around the nails can include a combination of home remedies and doctor-aided removal. Read on for details.