At the onset of a verruca or corn, most people will self-diagnose via Google, and then attempt to treat their condition with an over-the-counter topical remedy. However, as more and more people do so, it results in an increasingly large population of misdiagnosed individuals — leading to inappropriate treatment on the wrong lesion.
In order to make the right decision about corn or verruca treatment, it’s important that you consult a professional. If a podiatrist tells you that you can treat your verruca at home with over-the-counter products, it’s usually not an issue. However, if you’re told to seek out more advanced care for your condition, it’s always important to do so before making a decision.
What is a Corn?
Corns are hard, compact nodules on your feet that appear as you wear shoes. They’re typically caused by friction, but they can also be caused by pressure or a prominent bone in your foot. Corns typically form on the ball of the foot, the joint of the little toe, and between toes. They’re thickened skin that protects your feet from any pressure or friction.
What is a Verruca?
Human papillomavirus is responsible for causing the spread of warts and verrucas. Verrucas are like regular warts — only they’re found on your feet instead of your hands. They can be found on the bottom of the heel, between the toes, or on the sole of your foot, and they’re usually less than two centimetres in diameter.
Because verrucae are contagious, it’s important to take precautions. For example, patients should avoid being barefoot in public spaces like locker rooms and hotel showers — areas where verrucae are likely to be contracted. If a patient does have verrucae, it is important to wear flip-flops in these areas. Wearing flip-flops at home is also an effective way to prevent the spread of the virus.
What do corns look like?
Corns are raised bumps found on the soles of the feet. They derive from calluses — protective layers of skin that usually form to protect feet from friction. They are usually yellow but can become red and swollen if left untreated — leading to infection.
What do verrucae look like?
A corn and a verruca can seem very similar, especially when they’re first starting out. Both develop into hardened, callused lumps with jagged edges. It can be difficult to tell them apart, but there are some subtle differences that you should be aware of.
The hard surface of a verruca may be blotchy, with small black dots speckling the wart. These dots are not actually black, but instead, result from bleeding capillaries as the virus forms the wart. The dots may appear more uneven than corn, which is bumpy but with a similar appearance on all sides.
It’s important to remember that not all verrucas are the same. Most verrucas are small and single, but there are some that can be quite large and densely clustered together (which is why they can resemble cauliflower). Verrucas can appear on different parts of your foot.
So, corn vs verruca, what are the differences?
A common cause of verrucas is the Human Papilloma Virus, which means they’re highly contagious and passed on by skin-to-skin contact. However, corns are a result of friction and can be caused by either genetics or footwear.
The most common place to find verrucas is on the bottom of the feet, around the toes — but they can spread if you scratch them. Showers, pools, and changing rooms are like “Christmas” to a verruca. A corn won’t spread as it is just caused by friction.
The majority of people who contract verrucas are children and young adults, but no one is immune to the often-painful skin condition. Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to verrucas — they’re more likely to develop large, persistent lesions.
The incubation period of a verruca can range from a few months to well over a year. Although, for most people, this virus clears up all by itself! In some cases, people experience no pain when the verruca is present and feel agony when it disappears. Corns are also variable in their development — most commonly found on the ball of the foot.
One trick for telling apart verruca and corn is observing the skin health — verruca disrupts the line patterns, causing striations to become interrupted. You may also notice that verruca tissue has small black dots, which are blood vessels that look like very small bug bites; under a microscope, these vessels turn out to be useful for identifying this skin growth as a verruca and not a corn.
When diagnosing between a verruca and corn, it’s best to begin by examining the lesion for pain. If the area around the lesion is tender or sensitive upon squeeze, you likely have a verruca — not a corn. A corn will be firm and unresponsive to touch, while warts will elicit discomfort and are more sensitive.
How to treat a corn?
It’s recommended to steer clear of corn plasters if you have corns. The plasters are made up of a lot of acids, which will help you get rid of your corns right away, but in the long run it can cause more damage to your skin, because they will cause ulcers.
When you are ready for a cure for your corns, reach out to La Preme. We will relieve the pressure in your toe by removing the corn in a painless process called enucleation. This is a process where we use a scalpel to cut away the corn from its base.
How to treat a verruca?
Sometimes, verrucas resolve on their own. They’re harmless and often go away on their own. But if you want to get rid of them, there are some topical treatments you can try:
- Salicylic acid
- Falkner’s needling
- Swift microwave treatment
If you notice anything unusual, don’t be afraid to consult a podiatrist. They are fully qualified and there to help you with all your foot care needs!
*This blog contains general information about medical conditions and is not advice. You must not rely upon the information in this blog as medical advice. Medical advice should always be sought from an appropriately qualified podiatrist such as ourselves.