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Thursday, June 13, 2024

What Does a Verruca Look Like? A Guide to Foot Lumps

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Have you ever noticed a mysterious lump on the sole of your foot and wondered what it could be? You’re not alone. Many people get confused when they encounter these skin conditions, often mistaking a verruca for a wart or a corn. Understanding the difference between a corn and a verruca is crucial for effective foot care and treatment. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the characteristics of verrucas, corns, and warts to help you tell the difference and take the right course of action. We’ll also discuss when it’s time to see a GP or podiatrist and explore various treatment options.

What is a Verruca?

verruca is a specific type of wart that commonly appears on the sole of the foot. It’s caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and is highly contagious. Unlike corns, verrucas often have black dots and can be left untreated for some time without severe consequences, although they can be painful.

Chart: Characteristics of a Verruca

LocationSole of the foot
AppearanceBlack dots, mosaic patterns

What is a Corn?

corn is an area of hard, thickened skin that develops due to pressure and friction on the foot. Unlike verrucas, corns are not contagious and are often caused by ill-fitting shoes or a lot of pressure on your feet.

Chart: Characteristics of a Corn

CausePressure and Friction
LocationVarious areas of the foot
AppearanceHard, thickened skin

What is a Wart?

wart is a small, benign skin growth caused by a viral infection, specifically by one of the many types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts can appear in various areas of your skin, not just the feet. For more on warts, check out this article.

Chart: Characteristics of a Wart

LocationVarious areas of the skin
AppearanceSmall, fleshy bump

How to Tell the Difference Between a Corn and a Verruca

Telling the difference between a corn and a verruca can be tricky. One way to tell the difference is by looking for black dots in the hard skin of the lump. Verrucas often have these, while corns do not. Another method is the “squeeze test.” Corn will not elicit much pain when pinched, whereas a verruca is more uncomfortable in this position.

Chart: How to Tell the Difference

Black DotsNoYes
Squeeze TestLess PainfulMore Painful

When to See a GP or Podiatrist

If you’re experiencing persistent pain or discomfort, it’s advisable to see a GP or a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis. Over-the-counter treatments are available, but they may not be suitable for all types of warts and corns. A healthcare professional can offer more targeted treatments like cryotherapy for verrucas or minor surgery for corns.

Chart: When to Seek Medical Advice

ConditionOver-the-CounterSee a GP
VerrucaTopical TreatmentsCryotherapy
CornPressure Relief PadsMinor Surgery

Treatment Options

Verruca Treatment

For verrucascryotherapy is a common treatment option. Topical treatments containing salicylic acid are also available over-the-counter.

Corn Treatment

For corns, a podiatrist may remove the hard skin through a process called enucleation. Pressure relief pads can also be effective.

Chart: Treatment Options

ConditionTreatment Option 1Treatment Option 2
VerrucaCryotherapyTopical Treatments
CornPodiatristPressure Relief Pads

Preventive Foot Care

Prevention is better than cure. To avoid verrucas, be cautious in communal changing areas and swimming pools as these are common places for contamination. For corns, wearing well-fitted shoes can significantly reduce the risk.

Chart: Preventive Measures

ConditionPreventive Measure 1Preventive Measure 2
VerrucaAvoid communal areasUse foot protection
CornWell-fitted shoesReduce foot pressure


Understanding the difference between a corn and a verruca is crucial for effective foot care. Whether it’s a wartcorn, or verruca affecting the sole of your foot, knowing what you’re dealing with can help you take the right course of action. Always consult a GP or podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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