Is it a Corn or a Plantar Wart ? 

We often see patients coming into our clinic complaining about the wart on their foot that just won’t go away. They have tried various off the shelf wart treatments or have been to the GP many times but it just keeps coming back.  When we perform a closer examination, many times it’s just a corn. Unfortunately many people including GP mistakenly see a corn as a wart and treat it with multiple exposures to liquid nitrogen (freezing) or other aggressive treatments, it could potentially leave the vibrant skin with a lot of scar tissue and causing more long term problems, so I think it would be good for us to discuss the differences between warts and corns.

What are they ? 

Plantar Wart (Verruca Plantaris) Corn (hyperkeratosis)
        • Caused by viral infection (human papillomovirus)
        • Contagious, if there’s a tiny open cut, it can be infected by direct contact e.g. public shower floors, swimming pools etc.
        • Most common in immunity impaired group e.g young kid or elderly
        • Harmless but could be painful due to the pressure from walking and exercise
        • In most cases it requires treatment to get rid of it
        • Caused by high pressure especially to bony areas
        • Non-contagious, mainly from pressure such as ill fitted shoes/ pointy shoes and insufficient cushioning to bony areas
        • Not as common in children as their feet are fleshy and well hydrated
        • Harmless but could be painful due to layers of dead skin building up, often with a hard center
        • Treatment is required to manually remove the dead skin and padding may be applied to cushion the bony/pressure point

What do they look like ?

Plantar Wart Corn
          • Singular or cluster
          • Raised bump
          • Cauliflower appearance
          • Black spots visible
          • May or may not be painful


          • Singular
          • Small, round and  firm dead skin that has a hard center
          • May or may not be painful
          • May have red and inflamed skin around it



Plantar wart Corn
  • Treatment mainly involve debriding the overlying dead skin, then apply a slow release corrosive solution (e.g. salicyclic acid) to kill the wart tissue, however, it may take few weeks to be effective depending on the individual
  • Surgical removal are for more severe conditions
  • Multiple Puncture technique may be performed for cluster warts
  • Debride surrounding callous and remove the center of the corn
  • Provide padding/cushioning and footwear advice to prevent or delay the growth of the corn
  • In some cases acids are used to treat recurring corns
  • People with diabetes or circulatory problems should never treat a corn themselves, as their risk of infection is higher

If you suffer from corns or plantar warts or if you are not sure what the painful lesion on your foot is, call us today and see one of our podiatrists.