Corn Vs. Plantar Wart: Differences, Causes, Treatments for Each

Corn Vs. Plantar Wart Differences, Causes, Treatments for Each

Are you witnessing small bumps on the feet lately and wondering if it is a corn or planter wart? Often, people fail to recognize it, and even doctors find it a little tricky to differentiate between the two due to their similarities.

Both corn and plantar warts appear as bumps on the feet and look almost the same. However, their causes and treatment are different. Therefore, understanding the basic differences between the two is essential to get the right line of treatment.  This article will focus on corn vs. plantar warts and tell the differences that set them apart. 

What is Corn?

Also called foot corn, it is a thick layer of the skin that looks like a hard bump that is slightly raised. A corn is surrounded by dry and flaky skin. It develops as a result of constant friction and pressure and, therefore, usually appears on the heels, toes, or balls of the feet. 

What is Plantar Warts?

Medically termed verruca, warts are usually found at the bottom of the feet, causing difficulty in walking. Usually, they develop in clusters and have a grainy and fleshy appearance. You will always find black pinpoints in plantar warts that are clotted blood vessels nourishing the warts. 

Corn vs. Plantar Warts 

Corn vs. plantar warts

Now that we know the slight difference in their appearance, what are the other features that differentiate corn and warts?

One of the biggest differences between the two is their causal reason. 


While warts are skin infections that develop by certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), corns are the result of wearing tight or loose footwear for a long duration that causes constant pressure and friction, respectively. 


Since plantar warts occur due to viruses, the chances of them being contagious are high; on the other hand, corns are not spreadable.  Warts can spread through direct and indirect contact. Interestingly, people with strong immune systems may not develop a wart even after coming in contact with a person having it. 

Places of Growth 

Another aspect that shows dissimilarity between plantar warts and corn is their places of growth.  Since corns occur due to pressure and friction by shoes, you will always find them on the feet or toes. On the other hand, warts result due to viral infection; therefore, they can grow anywhere in the body. However, the main areas of their occurrence are still feet and sometimes hands and arms. 

What Is The Difference Between Corn And Plantar Wart?

Below is a table differentiating between corn and plantar warts in detail-

FeatureCornPlantar Wart
CauseFriction or pressure on the skinHuman papillomavirus (HPV) infection
AppearanceSmall, round, thickened skinSmall, rough growth with black dots (clotted blood vessels)
LocationTypically on non-weight bearing areas of the foot, toes, or handsUsually on the sole of the foot (plantar surface), often under pressure points
TextureHard or soft depending on locationFirm with a rough surface texture
PainMay or may not be painfulOften painful, especially when squeezed
Surrounding SkinSmoothMay have a callus surrounding the wart
Black DotsAbsentOften present, caused by clotted blood vessels
SpreadingDoes not spreadCan spread to other areas of the foot or to other people through contact
TreatmentOver-the-counter treatments (corn pads, salicylic acid) or professional removalOver-the-counter treatments, cryotherapy, laser therapy, or professional removal
RecurrenceMay recur if the cause persistsMay recur, especially if the virus remains in the body
ContagiousnessNot contagiousContagious, can spread through direct contact or contaminated surfaces

Besides these differences, corn and plantar warts are similar in the following ways-

  • Both are bumpy and rough skin growths 
  • Usually appear on the feet 
  • Painful and tender to touch 

How To Treat Corn And Plantar Warts?

How to Treat corn and plantar warts

Plantar Wart

Since warts develop as a result of viral infection, they often resolve on their own when the lifecycle of the virus is complete. However, their complete disappearance may take six months to 2 years.  Since warts are painful, taking over-the-counter medicines to get relief from the warts early helps. You can find ointment and liquids in the pharmacy to apply over the warts for their timely treatment. If the problem persists, visit a doctor who may suggest stronger treatment for wart removal. These include-

  • liquid nitrogen to freeze off the wart
  • laser treatments to burn off the wart
  • minor surgery to cut off the wart


The best way to get relief from the pain and discomfort from corn is soaking the feet in water to allow corn to soften. Now, use a pumice stone to fill down the skin.  To combat dryness around the corn, apply moisturizer in a generous amount. You can also start wearing shoe inserts or pads to reduce irritation while walking.  If the problem isn’t resolved, visit the doctor who will remove the skin growth manually. 

Who Develops Plantar Warts And Corn The Most?

Both these conditions are not age-specific and may happen to anyone. While plantar warts can occur to anyone with a weak immune system, corn usually happens among children who can’t decide if their footwear is loose and too tight. At the same time, people with slight deformities in their legs, such as a bunion, are also more susceptible to developing foot corns due to constant friction while walking. 


Plantar warts and corn are common skin issues. Despite looking the same, they are different in their causal reasons and treatment methodologies. Once you know about corn vs. plantar warts, it becomes easy to distinguish the two and get the right treatment. Thus, managing and treating the condition becomes easy. 

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