Seunga (Jasmine) Han, PharmD Student
Ever noticed any small bumps on your hands or feet? Wondered if those were corns or warts? Felt overwhelmed with the number of selections available for treatment? In the next few articles, we’re going to take a look at the differences between corns and warts, various treatment options, as well as ways to prevent their occurrence in the future. Keep reading to learn more information!
What are corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are essentially thick, hardened skin as a result of the skin’s defence mechanism to protect the foot. Often times, it’s caused by excessive friction or pressure from the skin rubbing against the bony parts of the foot or hand.
Calluses often form on hands and feet from weight lifting, abnormal gait, or poorly fitting shoes, to name a few. They are usually grey or yellow and are not sensitive to touch.
Corns, on the other hand, are found on the feet. They appear as a tough layer of compacted, dead skin cells with an inner core. Soft corns are usually found between the toes, while hard corns are found over the 5th toe or the soles of the feet.
What are plantar warts?
Unlike corns, warts are benign tumours caused by HPV. HPV only infects humans and is transmitted via contact with another lesion or contaminated surfaces. It can take anywhere from 1-8 months before the appearance of the wart post initial infection.
Warts found on the soles of the feet are called plantar warts and may occur singly or in clusters (mosaic warts). While it can occur at any age, it’s most common in children and young adults.
What are the difference between corns and plantar warts?
So, there are few main distinguishing features between corns and plantar warts.
Unlike warts, corns are not contagious, and when you observe the lesion itself, you will notice that skin ridges pass through corns but around plantar warts. Additionally, when the top layer of the skin is removed from plantar warts, you would be able to observe pinpoint bleeding.
How can I prevent these?
There are number of steps you can take to prevent corns and warts.
To prevent corns:
- Maintain moisture and remove dead skin cells! Moisturizing topical products can be applied to dry skin on the feet but not between the toes.
- Hydrating products with humectants (Nivea®, Glaxal Base) can be used to soften the skin.
- Anti-dehydration products (Lubriderm® lotion, Cetaphil®, Vaseline® Intensive Care Lotions) can be used to reduce moisture evaporation.
- Hydrating products containing keratolytic and exfoliating ingredients (Uremol® 10) are helpful with removing dead skin cells. For this reasons, they should be applied to the top layer of skin but not to broken skin). Urea has the potential to cause burning or tingling sensations when applied to dry or cracked skin.
To prevent warts:
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places such as swimming pool decks and gym showers and wear foot protection.
- Change shoes and socks every day
- Keep feet clean and dry
- Do not share socks or footwear
- Avoid touching warts on someone else or on another part of your body
As always, we hope you took away something valuable from this piece. If you enjoyed this article, stay tuned for our next article on various treatment options for corns and warts. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this article or others, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook, or at email@example.com with your feedback. We’d love to hear from you.