What Are Foot Warts? Think it’s a corn, think again!

Our BioPed Foot Specialists treat both foot corns and warts but commonly find that patients mistake one for the other. Due to the fact that these conditions require very different treatment, it’s best to get the correct diagnosis. So, what is a wart and how is it different from a corn?

What are warts?

Warts are caused by the human papilloma virus and can appear anywhere on the skin. All warts are contagious! Those that appear on the sole of the foot are called plantar warts. Children, especially teenagers, tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults. Corns are not caused by a virus and therefore are not contagious!

Causes of warts

The virus that causes warts generally invades the skin through small or invisible cuts and abrasions. A plantar wart is often contracted by walking barefoot on surfaces where the virus is lurking. The virus likes to exist in moist, warm environments, such as beside pools, in shower stalls, or locker rooms.

If left untreated, warts can grow to an inch or more in circumference and can spread into clusters of several warts; these are often called mosaic warts. Like any other infectious lesion, plantar warts are spread by touching, scratching, or even by contact with skin shed from another wart. Although warts can spontaneously disappear… just as frequently, they can recur in the same location. Additionally, if left untreated, warts can become cancerous – although this is very rare!

Corns are most commonly caused by areas of increased friction or pressure and as a result are acquired by a change in the way we walk, increased activity, sweaty feet or by wearing ill fitting shoes.

Presentation

Many warts are painful but some may be painless. Corns can also be quite painful too!

Plantar warts tend to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and circular shape. Plantar warts often have a center that appears as one or more pinpoints/dots that are black in colour, whereas a corn would never have these black “dots”. Warts can be very resistant to treatment and have a tendency to reoccur.

Treatment of Warts

Self-treatment is generally not advisable. Over-the-counter medicines contain acids or chemicals that destroy skin cells, and it takes an expert to destroy abnormal skin cells (warts) without also destroying surrounding healthy tissue. Self-treatment with such medications especially should be avoided by people with diabetes.

BioPed Chiropodists and Advanced Foot Care Nurses have many treatment options available that are not available at the drugstore or through your family doctor. It is best to have one of our Foot Specialists assess your skin lesion to determine if it is a wart or corn. The treatment for a corn would be aimed at relieving the thickness and reducing the pressure on the area.

Book an appointment with a Chiropodist today.

Book an appointment with an Advanced Foot Care Nurse today.