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Corn or Verruca? How to Tell the Difference

Corns and verrucas are both prevalent podiatry conditions. However, many people get the two things muddled up and therefore, they are often treated wrongly at home.

Here, we look at the key differences between corns and verrucas.



A corn is an area of hard, cone-shaped skin often found at a place of pressure or a joint. Pressure and friction cause corns, which may be from bumps on the feet, socks, or ill-fitting shoes. A corn will usually start as dead skin, and pressure will make it more prominent over time. Corns are common in people of all ages, although it has been suggested that they are more common in those with dry skin.

A corn will usually have hard and thick skin on the top and around the edges. They will be circular or conical in shape. They will also be slightly yellow or tan in colour. They will likely cause pain if pressure is applied and become swollen and hot if irritated. If left untreated, they can become infected.


A verruca is caused by the HPV virus, and it is very contagious. You are likely to find them on the sole of the foot or around the toes. This virus thrives in damp conditions, such as showers, pools and changing areas. Anyone can pick up the virus, but children and young adults seem to be the most affected. Verrucas can spread to other regions if scratched or picked, and the incubation period is anything from a few months to a year.

Verrucas can last for years, but they may also clear up on their own without treatment. They can be extremely painful for some, but other people feel no pain. They are somewhat unpredictable!

To identify a verruca, look closely under a bright light, or use a magnifying glass if needed. Verruca tissue causes black spots in the skin, which are the blood vessels. Verrucas are usually sore to touch, and they will be a rough, crumbly surface.


Both corns and verrucas are common but a nuisance. It is important to keep the area clean and dry and seek advice from a specialist podiatrist, such as Louise Seymour Podiatry.

For information on the podiatry services we offer at Louisa Seymour Podiatry, please contact us.

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