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Corn or Verruca - How to Know the Difference?

Updated: Feb 19

Have you ever wondered whether you have a corn or a verruca? The reason for this question is that they sometimes get confused with one another. Also, this is important to know because you will need the right treatment for the problem you have.

Here is a short guide to both, so that you can distinguish one from the other!


A corn is hard, dead skin that embeds itself in the soft tissue of the skin, and is usually caused by some form of pressure to the area where it develops. Corns are also different to calluses, which are areas of thickened skin that develop on the surface of the area affected. Corns are often evident because of pain to the affected area, which can be intensified by the corn pressing on nerves in the skin.

According to corns can be caused by shoes that don't fit well, not wearing socks with footwear, using tools & instruments, and genetic inheritance.

To look at, a corn tends to have the appearance of a distinct localized pale-white area of skin. Corns

have been described as being like an inverted cone that digs into the skin. This is why corns can be so painful (See image).

As Mayo Clinic also points out, there can be complications with corns for those who are diabetic or who have blood flow issues, so preventative care is all the more necessary, which includes contacting a healthcare professional.

To avoid or reduce the chance of having corns, use of roomy footwear and soft padding is advised.


A Verruca, according to the Royal College of Podiatry, is a plantar wart, which usually appears on the soles of feet, or around the toes. They are caused by what is known as HPV, or the Human Papilloma Virus, and are transferable from person to person.

Verrucae differ in appearance to corns in that they usually have a raised ridge around them and contain small dark spots. These spots are dried blood at the ends of the capillaries in the skin.

To treat verrucae, the Royal College of Podiatry, in its website, suggests acid treatments, Cryotherapy (the use of liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide), different forms of surgery, including laser and electro-surgery, and more recent methods of microwave and needle therapy.

The time to seek professional advice or treatment for verrucae is when you are diabetic, have blood flow issues, or are pregnant, and also when a verruca persists after self care and is getting worse and becoming painful.

Hopefully, this article has helped in identifying the difference between corns and verrucae, and what steps to take if you think you have either.

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