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The Difference Between Calluses, Corns And Warts

Three of the most common foot complaints we see in the clinic are calluses, corn and warts. Often these anomalies are misdiagnosed. The following guide may help distinguish between the three.


A callus is an area of thickened skin. It is a result of pressure and rubbing. Treatment includes the (painless) debridement of the hard skin. The use of emollient may also help by keeping the skin soft and supple, but it will not cure the hard skin. The best treatment is to avoid the causal factor; pressure and friction. Activity levels, footwear and biomechanical are also factors in the development of calluses and corns.Callus



There are actually three types of corns;

Hard corns: large corn, often occurring on the bottom of the foot or the top of the toes

Soft corns: often occur between the toes

Seed corns: smaller, often juvenile corn

These lesions are again caused by pressure and friction, and are mostly smaller than a callus. The difference between a corn and a callus is a corn has a centre or a nucleus. The nucleus is harder than the surrounding soft tissue and is often where the pain radiates from. A corn may also occur in conjunction with a callus.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



Warts are a small, tufty anomaly. They are a result of a virus and can be contagious. They have a nerve supply and a blood supply. Treatment of wart is undertaken after considering a patient’s medical history, and lifestyle. It usually involves a topical agent, and possibly cryotherapy, but there are other options. Ideally warts should not be cut out due to the risk of scar tissue which may be painful to walk on postoperatively, as scar tissue is more dense than soft tissue.warts1

Thanks for reading, Carissa

We have HICAPS available in our clinic, which means that our patients can claim from their private health fund straight away

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Sutherland, NSW 2232

Tel: 02 9542 3491