What’s the Difference Between a Plantar Corn and Plantar Wart?

A plantar corn or wart to most people can sometimes feel and look very similar, and the two can often get mistaken for each other.  If you have tried searching on Google, ‘What sore lesion do I have on my foot?’ often results will include both a plantar corn and a wart. 

A corn is a small bundle of layers of hardened skin, similar to a callus and is caused by direct and localised pressure. We often describe a corn’s shape to patients like the shape of an ice cream cone. The very tip is embedded in the skin and the longer a corn is left the deeper and more painful it can become.

A wart on the other hand is a skin growth that develops from the HPV virus that we all have within our bodies. Some are more susceptible to this virus and warts can pop up in times of stress, lowered immunity or direct exposure to the infection (i.e. from swimming pool floors). Plantar warts on the foot grow inwards due to weight bearing pressure; different to a wart on your hand, which sticks outwards because it does not have any weight bearing pressure on it. Warts can spread and multiply if left untreated.

There are a few ways us as Podiatrists can differentiate between a corn and a wart.

 

Corn Wart
Harden layers of skin Have small tiny dots within the lesion (blood vessels)
Corn hurts more when you applied direct pressure on it Warts hurt more when you squeeze the sides like a pimple
Warts bleed a lot easier

 

Treatment is different for both, that is why it is always worth going to your Podiatrist for a thorough diagnosis.

 

Corn treatment

Scalpel removal- this is the main and more efficient way in removing a corn, as podiatrists we are able to use our scalpel skills to properly remove the entire corn, even that pesky tip of the corn embedded in the skin.

Offloading- due to corns mainly being present in high pressure areas of the foot we can offload these areas in a number of ways from padding to footwear changes and foot orthotics

Wart treatment

Wart treatment varies and mostly relies on your body’s own immune system to develop a response to the treatment to fight of the viral infection (wart). Some methods we as Podiatrists might use are:

 

 

 

Debridement– usually warts have overlying callus, this needs to be removed first for comfort but also to allow other treatments to penetrate the area and to work effectively. If debridement isn’t done correctly over the counter treatments often fail.

Salicylic Acid- 60% acid based product used by us to help destroy the wart tissue.

Cryotherapy– Freezing the wart tissue

Potassium Hydroxide Crystal– small flake of crystal which can be applied to the skin for a short amount of time to help remove the wart tissue and blood vessels.

There are also a lot of natural remedies that have been shown to help in the removal of warts, our Podiatrists can provide these options if needed.

Warts are more difficult to treat compared with corns as we rely on an immune response to fight off the infection, rather than like corns, where we can cut them out usually quite easily. Warts will often require multiple treatments, often performed weekly. Corns can be treated and removed with a scalpel blade and if the right measures are in place to reduce pressure, can be prevented from recurring. 

If you think you might have a corn or wart on your foot, book in to see one of our Podiatrists today so we can help!

 

Image source: https://www.informedhealth.org/

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