Warts and corns are common lesions seen on foot. They are raised, rough, and firm areas of skin. They can even look alike. However, they are two different entities; warts are caused by infection and are contagious while corns are caused by mechanical pressure and are not contagious. This article will talk about both warts and corns and the differences between them in detail, highlighting their types, clinical features, causes, and the course of treatment they require.
A wart is a small cauliflower like growth. It can be a solid blister, as well. It can occur anywhere on the skin. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the commonest cause. Because human papillomavirus transmits via the contact with broken skin, warts are contagious. Usually warts resolve in about a month or so, but some can last longer and recur. There are different types of warts; Butcher’s warts, flat warts, filiform warts, genital warts, mosaic warts, Plantar warts, Periungual warts etc. Almost all warts are harmless. Common warts occur on hands mostly and have raised rough surfaces. HPV type 2 and 4 are the main causes of warts.
Cancers and genital dysplasia occur as wart like growths and are associated with high risk HPV types. Flat warts are smooth, small, skin colored with flat upper surfaces. They occur in clusters on head, neck, hands, and lower forearms mostly. HPV 10, HPV 3, and HPV 28 cause flat warts. Filiform warts are thin protrusions. They occur mostly near eyelids. Genital warts occur on the external genitalia. HPV 6 and 11 commonly cause genital warts. Mosaic warts occur in clusters on palms and soles. Periungual warts occur around nails. Plantar warts occur around pressure points on soles. HPV type 1 is the commonest cause of Planter warts. They are flat and painful because they grow inwards. HPV type 7 causes Butcher’s warts.
According to current studies, topical application of salicylic acid is very effective against warts. Cryotherapy also shows similar promise.
Corns are elliptical shaped thickened areas of skin. They usually occur on the upper aspect of the foot and less commonly on the soles. Corns occur when pressure points in shoes grate against the skin in an elliptical motion. The center of the lesion represents the actual pressure point. Surrounding area grows due to the continuous stimulation. Corns may regrow even after surgical removal. Therefore changing foot ware is essential following surgery.
There are two types of corns; hard corns and soft corns. Hard corns occur on flat rough skin. They are shaped like a funnel. They have broad widened tops and pointed bottoms. The pressure exerted on the top surface transmits down to deep tissues at the bottom and intensified due to the small surface area at the bottom. Hard corns can, therefore, cause deep tissue ulceration. Soft corns occur between toes. They are moist and keep surrounding skin moist, as well. The center of soft corns is firm and indurated.
Corns are easily prevented than treated. They can resolve spontaneously. Salicylic acid can dissolve corns. Treatment of corns is important in diabetics because pressure points can turn into diabetic foot ulcers. These can end up in amputation.
What is the difference between Warts and Corns?
• Warts occur due to an infection while corns occur due to mechanical pressure.
• Almost all warts are contagious while corns are not.
• Warts can occur anywhere on the body while corns occur only at pressure points.
• Warts are cauliflower like growths and corns are just raised, roughened skin.
• Warts and corns both may resolve spontaneously, and they both respond well to salicylic acid and cryotherapy.