14th November 2023
Corn vs. Wart: 6 Ways To Tell the DifferenceDr. Jill Barat, PharmD
If you have come across something on your feet that is round, has thick skin over it, and may be a little uncomfortable to the touch or when you walk – you could have a corn...or a wart.
So, how do you know which one you are dealing with?
In this article, we will cover the top ways you can identify if you have a corn or a wart on your feet to help you better choose the next steps for treating it and moving on.
1. The location on the foot
Plantar warts tend to occur on the heel of the foot, ball of the foot, or the underside of the big toe.
But, corns tend to develop in places where the foot or toes have had a point of pressure or excessive friction, like the side of a toe rubbing against an ill-fitting shoe.
Think about if there has been excessive friction on the area where you see the development.
If that area has had lots of friction or irritation, you could have a corn. But, if it is a random spot on the bottom of your foot where there has been no pressure or friction, you may be dealing with a plantar wart.
2. Appearance of the bump
While both of these common foot afflictions tend to have a thickened, round, hard, or crusty surface, there may be one very telling feature that can help you differentiate between a corn or a plantar wart.
Corns will have a white to yellowish coloration throughout, but plantar warts will have tiny little black dots scattered around the area.
If you see tiny black dots embedded in the callous, you can be pretty confident that you are dealing with a plantar wart and not a corn.
3. How many are there
With plantar warts, you may start to see clusters of various-sized warts all around the same area, as these are caused by a virus and tend to spread over time.
However, with corns, these are not caused by a virus, but are purely a calloused overgrowth caused by excessive friction on the area, so these tend to pop up alone in high-friction areas.
4. Your recent activities
Maybe you got a new set of sneakers and they tend to rub the side of your toe right on the area with your new calloused development, or you have been running a lot more than usual.
In these cases, you are likely seeing the formation of a corn from the friction of the shoes on your feet.
Or, maybe you just got back from a spa retreat or beach vacation where you were walking barefoot in a public pool area and showers.
In this case, you may have contracted a plantar wart from someone else who had them and was also walking barefoot around these areas.
Think back to your activities around the start of your foot issues to help identify if you are dealing with a corn or a plantar wart.
5. How quickly they formed
Corns develop slowly while the same area is rubbed or put under lots of pressure over and over, while plantar warts can pop up much quicker once vulnerable skin on the foot comes in contact with the virus in your environment.
Think about the timeline of your affliction to see if it has been slow going or a quick development.
6. The push/squeeze test
Corns are callused areas where the callus tends to grow inward and start pushing on delicate areas underneath.
So, corns tend to feel more painful when you push directly inward on them.
With plantar warts, these tend to be more painful when you put pressure on either side of them, or “squeeze” them between your fingers.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.