Plantar Wart vs Corn: What’s the Difference?

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If you have a skin growth or bump on your foot, you might wonder whether it’s a plantar wart vs corn. Read on to learn about the differences between these two skin conditions.

Plantar Wart vs Corn: What’s the Difference?

A plantar wart is a small, common viral growth that appears on the bottom of your foot. A corn is a callus or a hardened area of skin usually found on your fingers, toes, and elbows. While it’s possible to have a combination of both in some people, you can usually tell them apart by their appearance. Plantar warts are typically flesh-colored with dark speckles in them, whereas corns are often yellowed and can be slightly raised from your skin. Both need immediate medical attention if they bleed when they’re rubbed or pressed against something, which makes it difficult to tell which one you have without professional help.

They don’t require treatment if they aren’t causing any discomfort, but other than that you should see a doctor about them. There are treatments available specifically for each so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis before beginning treatment.

Recommended Read: How to Create a Daily Foot Care Routine

What is a Plantar wart?

Plantar warts (verruca plantaris) are small growths that typically appear on pressure points like weight-bearing areas or balls of your feet. You will feel them under the surface of your skin since they form underneath the dead layers at the bottom of your feet. The most common location for plantar warts is on the bottom of your foot, but you can also get them between other toes, around nails, and even between folds in the soles of some people’s feet. They are usually gray or black, and you can identify them by their rough, cauliflower-like appearance.

What is a corn?

A corn (also known as a heloma nail or a clavus) is a common skin condition characterized by damage to the topmost layers of skin at the tip of an area of pressure on your foot. It can be red, inflamed, and painful and may sometimes be filled with fluid. Corns usually appear on either side of your big toe joint or around other areas where there is constant pressure such as under the ball of your foot near-certain toes. They do not cause pain until they press against another structure such as a bone inside your foot. Corns often resemble plantar warts since both conditions are caused by chronic skin moisture, irritation, and pressure.

Recommended Read: How to Get Rid of Corns on Pinky Toe

The difference between a plantar wart and corn is largely one of location. A plantar wart is typically located on the bottom or fleshy part of your foot, or less commonly on your hands. Corns are usually found around the areas where your toes bend at the balls of your feet near toenails. Furthermore, they can also occur under other areas that are subject to friction, such as between certain toes or under calluses. It’s possible to have both types of skin conditions present at once but these are still easy enough to tell apart since warts are often larger than corns.

While most common in adults over 40 years old, anyone can develop either type of condition. A corn is generally larger, with a defined border that is either rounded or irregular. A corn may also have a “mounded” surface on the top. On the other hand, warts are usually smaller and have soft, uneven surfaces on their ends. Warts can be flat or slightly raised from surrounding skin, while corns remain relatively level with surrounding tissue. Generally speaking though, if you find yourself unsure about your diagnosis of either plantar warts or corns, it’s generally best to visit your doctor for more personalized advice on treating this condition before it becomes worse and harder to manage in any way.

Plantar Wart vs Corn: Symptoms and Appearance

A plantar wart is a small viral growth on the bottom of your foot. As mentioned above, it can be flesh-colored with dark speckles in it, though sometimes those specks may not be immediately visible. You might know that you have a wart when you thin a walking motion, your toe brushes against something and you feel a shooting pain.

A corn is also a growth on the bottom of your foot, but it might be more difficult to identify as one unless you actually see it. It looks like a thick callus that forms at the tips of your toes where they bear most of the weight when you walk or run. Especially if it’s been caused by wearing an improper shoe, corns can be extremely painful – so much so that even walking barefoot will hurt.

Plantar Wart vs Corn: A Visual Guide

The difference between plantar warts and corns can be difficult to spot with the naked eye. The main difference between a corn and a wart is their appearance: A corn usually presents as a yellowish bump on the skin while warts can be many different colors based on how far along they have grown. A corn will also have a thicker center than the surrounding skin, where the wart’s center will be slightly raised above the rest of it.

If you think you have one of these common foot problems, consider taking a picture of it (or asking someone else to take one) and then overlaying it on the image below. This visual guide should help you determine whether or not your problem is actually a corn.

Plantar example
Corn example

A plantar wart is an infection caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). There are more than 100 known types of HPV, some of which lead to the development of genital warts, including plantar warts. Plantar warts begin as a small bump and maybe flat-topped or slightly raised. They’re usually found on the bottom of the foot and can grow to several centimeters, especially if you’ve had them for a long time. Plantars warts look like thick cauliflower florets that can appear dark or light gray, pink, red, blue, white, purple-grayish color. The infection is contagious and can spread easily from contact with other people’s skin injury of feet such as walking barefoot in public places such as swimming pools, saunas, gyms.

Corns are hard areas of skin caused by your body producing too much pressure against a bone or irritated area. This causes a build-up of layers of hard skin.

They are also caused by wearing shoes that are too tight, this brings pressure on the skin of your feet causing them to grow faster than usual producing more layers of hard skin.

This condition is common in people with certain diseases such as diabetes, psoriasis. Well-known factors that can cause corns are repeated friction and rubbing against areas of the body usually the feet by things like tight or ill-fitting shoes or even wet socks that have been left on for long periods of time for example after being worn through the night.

Corns may be small (less than 1/4 inch), medium (up to 1/2 inch), or large (more than 1/2 inch). They can also vary from pink to black in color.

Plantar Wart vs Corn: Treatment and Removal

The first thing your doctor will probably do is scrape off some skin from the wart or corn to send in for testing. This test can be performede in-house and usually takes less than 5 minutes. If you are a more at home treatment person try the following:

How to treat a wart

Warts don’t usually require treatment and go away on their own. But, just as it can take 6 months for one to appear, it can take almost as long for one to disappear — sometimes as long as 1 to 2 years.

To get rid of a plantar wart sooner, you can use any of these over-the-counter wart removal products.

How to treat a corn

To cure a corn, you must first identify and eliminate the source of continual friction and pressure. Wearing shoes that are tailored to your feet is the first step in treating corns.

To minimize pain and discomfort, try adding soft inserts or cushions to your shoes.

Using a pumice stone to file down the skin of your corn is another method for self-care. Another alternative is soaking your feet in water to soften the corn, then carefully filing down the skin with a pumice stone.

You can also use a moisturizer on your feet to help with dryness or flakiness around a corn.

You can use any of these over-the-counter corn removal products.

If painful corn doesn’t improve with home treatment, your doctor can remove the skin growth during an in-office visit.

Understanding the distinctions between plantar warts vs corns not only tells you how to treat them, but also lets you know whether you have HPV. Be sure to check with a doctor and get treatment if your doctor confirms either type of skin growth.