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What is the difference between corns and plantar warts?

Corns Vs Warts

Our Podiatrists are frequently referred patients asking the question "is this a wart or a corn?" GPs often have difficulty telling the difference as they are very similar in appearance.




What causes corns? Corns are localised areas of hyperkeratosis (callous) that form in areas of increased pressure. Generally corns develop on the soles of the feet, in between toes and on the tips of toes. Corns can develop due to foot mechanics, ill fitting footwear, claw toes, bunions and wide feet. They have a conical shape with a pointed nucleus at the base- this is the painful end that sticks into the foot. People often describe symptoms such as feeling as if they are walking on a pebble. Corns ar easily removed by a Podiatrist without any pain, but will re-develop over time if the mechanical stress on the tissue is not addressed either through footwear changes or orthotics.




What causes plantar warts? The technical term for warts on the foot is verrucae pedis. These develop secondary to exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV) and are prevalent in children, but can occur at any age. Warts can either be solitary and appear similar to a corn, or spread out in a wider distribution or mosaic pattern. Plantar warts can be very painful and are different to other strains of the wart virus due to a large portion of the wart being present under the skin. Treatments undertaken by our Podiatrists can involve the use of a strong acid, cryotherapy and for very persistent strains surgical curettage may be necessary.




We hope this helps you to distinguish the difference between corns and plantar warts. However, the best course of action for both warts and corns on the feet is to consult an expert in the area such as a Podiatrist. We will be able to identify which is present and commence treat painlessly at your initial appointment.




Ashley Wevling, Nathan Pring, Christopher Wevling