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Corn vs Verruca- which is it?!

Updated: Jan 29

What is the difference between a Verruca and a corn?


These are two of the most common foot problems we deal with at Healthy Feet MK. Both corns and verrucae can be troublesome conditions that can be similar in appearance. If you want a run down of what sets a Verruca apart from a corn and how we tell the difference read on!


Let's start with discussing pesky Verrucae.

Verrucae are caused by a virus (HPV), There are different subtypes of HPV (Human Papiloma Virus) but the most common that affect the feet are called Plantar warts. They are highly contagious and spread easily through skin contact and touching infected surfaces. They normally form on the soles of your feet, Verruca will usually have tiny black dots in the centre, these are where blood has clotted in tiny blood vessels on the surface of your skin. Verruca tend to appear quite flat, but this isn't always the case. They can form in pressure points and make it painful when you walk. Sometimes you can have clusters of verrucas that fuse together- these are called mosaic warts.

Summary of how we tell if it's a Verruca

  • Does it have black dots?

  • What is its shape like? Verrucae tend to be flatter than corns and are often described as having a cauliflower shape to them.

  • Striations? These are the lines on your skin. Verruca tend to interrupt these lines and you can see them going around the lesion instead of through it,

  • Verrucae tend to bleed easily when we par them back with a scalpel (this is rarely painful). This is due to the tiny black dots (blood vessels).


A corn is type of callus that often forms on pressure points on your feet. Calluses develop when the skin is trying to protect itself against friction or pressure. Corns are smaller and deeper than callus that forms on the surface. There a few different types of corn:

  • Hard corns: These are small, hard dense areas of skin usually within a larger area of thickened skin. They can be painful when you walk or when pressed.

  • Soft corns: These corns are normally white or grey in colour, and have a soft rubbery texture. They tend to form in between toes.

  • Seed corns. These are small corns and usually form on the bottom of your feet.

Summary of how we know its a corn:

  • What kind of skin is it on? Hard corns prefer drier skin, soft corns can make the skin appear macerated due to the location and the warmth/moisture in between your toes (always make sure you dry thoroughly in this area!).

  • Striations- the lines in your skin will normally carry on through a callus or corn.

  • Black dots? Corns don't have these tiny black dots on them like verrucae do.

  • What's the shape like? Corns tend to have conical shape (think of an ice cream cone shape with the pointy bit sticking into your foot- ouch!). They normally have a circular shadow of callus over the top of them.

  • Does it hurt when pressed? Corns can be very painful, especially when pressed or if they are in an area of high pressure when you walk.

So there you have it- all of our hints and tips of how we know the difference between a Verruca or a corn. Even though they can be similar in appearance the treatment plan for these two conditions is very different. Why not book in for an initial consultation and routine footcare appointment? We will assess your feet and go through all of your treatment options with you.

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