Do I have a corn or verruca?


corn-7-w340h232Our podiatrists regularly get asked “I think I have a verruca, how can I tell if I do and how would I have got it? This is a good question; I would conservatively estimate that only 20% of clients who attend Dublin City Foot Clinic complaining of having a verruca actually do have one. A verruca is a virus, the human papilloma virus (HPV) the same virus that causes warts on fingers. There are a few strains of the virus that cause different types of verruca.

When you attend our clinic our podiatrists will give you a definite diagnosis of having a corn or a verruca or something else. Verrucae often present in ring shape, or mosaic of rings, on the sole of the foot and they sometimes have the little black dots. Our body is incredible, it is able to recognise the verruca as a “foreign object” and responds by covering the object (verruca) with a layer of hard skin (callus). This “lump” of hard skin is often mistaken for a corn. Sometimes the blood in the small capillaries get caught up in the verruca giving the appearance of a dark coloured spots. Children are often more susceptible to verruca as it takes time for your body to develop an immunity to the virus, therefore, if you are older you’re more likely to have a corn not a verruca. Usually, a verruca is painful when it is pinched but not when pressed directly and a corn is painful when it is pressed but not when pinched. However, verrucae are often uncomfortable if they are on a weight bearing part of the foot, they may however, not cause any problems at all. Verrucae generally resolve spontaneously within six months in children the general policy is to only treat them when they are causing pain. However, in adults, they can persist for years. If yours is causing pain, there are a number of treatment options available – though no one particular treatment can guarantee a cure. The safest and most effective treatments are those containing salicylic acid which disintegrate the viral cells. It may need to be applied at weekly intervals over a set period of time. Our podiatrists will advise you on the best treatment options available for your verruca.

Corns unlike verruca are mainly caused by pressure from shoes; therefore, removing the pressure will often stop the corn recurring. Our podiatrists will safely remove your painful corn and offer you advice regarding footwear modification. So, bring your regular shoes in for us to assess and we will evaluate what is actually causing the corn, this is often an ill-fitting shoe, stitching or seams.