Is it a Callus Or a Wart?

So is it a callus or a wart?

Dry, hard skin on the bottom of your foot can be tough even for professionals to recognize and determine whether it is truly a callous or a wart.  If you think you’re suffering from a plantar’s wart on your foot and it won’t go away, you may need to see a podiatrist for further evaluation and treatment.  Here are some differences between a callus and a wart:

A callus is thickened skin that develops from excessive pressure or friction on the bottom or side of your foot.  When they form on the toes they are known as a corn. They can be painful but not always.  Shaving calluses, using callous creams, and padding of calluses in your shoes can help alleviate the pressure allowing the callus to decrease in size.  Calluses represent the bodies way of trying to protect the skin from blistering or breaking down due to friction or pressure.   Sometimes however, the body becomes overzealous and produces so much extra skin that you will have pain. Calluses and corns are related as they both are build up of thick skin. So, is it a callus or a wart?
A wart, however, can appear very similar and is sometimes indistinguishable from a callus.
A wart is a virus that finds an area of the skin that has been injured or weakened and invades that area of the foot.  The wart begins to form by causing a thickening of the skin.  The wart may start as just a small blister-like area. It may or may not be painful and there are several different treatments for warts.  It may even spontaneously resolve on its own.  Since they are a virus, warts can be contagious and you shouldn’t wait for it to resolve by itself which could take several months!  So, is it a callus or a wart?

Some possible between warts and calluses:

  • Warts may have many black dots in the center
  • Warts may be more painful when you squeeze side to side
  • Calluses may be seen more commonly on weight-bearing areas
  • Warts tend to enlarge and spread
  • Warts tend to bleed when trimmed
  • Callouses are more common the older you get
  • Warts are more common in kids and teens
  • Calluses have skin lines going through them while warts don’t

So even with all of these descriptions of calluses and warts, it is still possible that it may be hard to tell the difference.  Your podiatrist can take a sample of the skin and send it to a lab to confirm.

Is it a callus or a wart?

There are many over the counter treatments for calluses and warts.  If you have diabetes or poor circulation, it is important that you do not try to treat these yourself.  Some common treatments are pads, shaving devices, creams and soaks.  Pads that are medicated and contain acid can cause burns and infection, so proceed with caution when using these treatments.
If you are suffering from a painful lesion on the bottom of your foot, then call Advanced Podiatry at 813-875-0555.  The doctors at Advanced Podiatry have the right treatment plan for you to resolve your foot pain today!