Ever had a pebble in your shoe? Then you’ll know just how uncomfortable it is to have a corn or a plantar wart (which is just the fancy way to say a wart underneath your foot)! The sad truth is that this is a day to day reality for a lot of people. Corns and warts are often described as having a pebble glued to the underside of the foot and trying to walk. They can often get so bad they actually stop people from doing normal day to day activities or from wearing the shoes they want. What’s worse is that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you try, you just can’t seem to get rid of them!
Now, this may have never even crossed your mind but the reality is there is a critical difference between a wart and a corn. Unless you understand this difference, you may never get rid of the problem! This is because the treatment for a wart is very different to that of a corn. If you want your treatment to work you need to know what it is your dealing with. So, to answer the question lets start by clarifying where they each come from and then we can more easily determine what you need to do about it.
Heloma durum (hard corn)
Verrucae pedis (plantar wart)
Corns are effectively focal callous that builds up on the skin as a means of protecting the skin from injury. They usually form on the pressure areas for example under the foot on the ball or the heel where our body weight rests against the ground. Otherwise they develop on bony prominences – especially those that rub on shoes – such as the tops of the toes. Sometimes they can even develop between the toes!
Warts are viral infections of the skin that position themselves in such away as to avoid detection by the body’s normal immune response. Instead of developing only on pressure areas like corns (although a lot of them do form on pressure areas) they can develop anywhere on the foot. Often times they are undetected by the person until they form excessive callus over them from ongoing micro-friction in footwear or walking. Hence, they very much resemble and can be confused with corns.
It is very important to determine the difference between the two types of lesions because one is relatively simple to fix and may just require some specialised treatment from a podiatrist. The other however requires topical caustic or acid treatments which can be administered by over the counter products from the pharmacy or with more aggressive methods by your podiatrist.
To determine the difference between the two, trial this simple test. Squeeze the lump from the sides in a pinch type action or put pressure directly on top of the lump. If its uncomfortable when you squeeze it but not as uncomfortable when you push on it directly, there is a higher chance that you have a wart, if its uncomfortable only when you push down on the top its more likely to be corn. If its uncomfortable on both or hard to determine then its worth a consultation to confirm and treat the lump from a qualified health professional such as a podiatrist.