Dermatologists and Skin Care Data Verified

Corns, Callosities, and Plantar Warts

Written by
Dr. Suvash Sahu
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Jan 30, 2018 and last reviewed on Sep 08, 2022   -  2 min read


If the skin on your feet feels hard, rough, dry, and painful while walking, it might be corn or callosities. Reach out to a doctor now.

Corns, Callosities, and Plantar Warts

Definition of Corns and callosities

Corns and callosities refer to the localized thickenings of the skin that appear over sites of repeated trauma and pressure.

Predisposing Factors

  1. Prolonged pressure.
  2. Friction.
  3. Shearing forces of bone against each other.
  4. Ill-fitting shoes.

Clinical Features

Corns are well-demarcated small areas of thickened skin most commonly seen over the dorsolateral aspect of the fifth toe but may be seen at other places also. They are conical in shape with the apex pointing inwards into the tissue and hence are tender on vertical pressure. Paring reveals a central nucleus. Soft corns are located in the third and fourth toe web spaces.

Calluses are diffuse non-tender areas of thickened skin with indefinite borders commonly present in areas of repeated friction. The normal skin markings can be seen over callosities and they lack a central nucleus.

How to treat Corns and callosities

  1. Removal of causative factors like ill-fitting shoes or orthopedic deformities.
  2. Paring: After softening the affected area with a 40 % salicylic acid dressing under occlusion for 48 hours, the corn/callosity is gently pared with a scalpel blade. Repeat dressing and paring if required.
  3. In case of a very painful corn, a small amount of intralesional steroid under it can relieve the pain.

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts constitute 25 to 35 % of all warts. They begin over pressure points like heels, heads of metatarsals, below toes, and the forefoot as small, shiny, sago-grain papules. They soon become well-defined and rounded and develop rough and hyperkeratotic surface with a surrounding collar of thickened horn.

A mosaic wart results due to the confluence of multiple lesions into one large, usually flat lesion.

Clinical Examination

Reveals the skin markings to be discontinuous over the warts.


Plantar warts may be differentiated from corns and callosities on clinical grounds as outlined above.

Plantar warts treatment

Plantar warts commonly recur despite treatment. Hence, avoidance of nail-biting, use of rubber gloves during swimming and sticking to the use of one’s own towel and clothing can prevent their further spread to other areas and to others. Various modalities of treatment are:

  • Occlusive dressing with 40 % salicylic acid followed by paring.
  • Electrocautery is better than surgery but scarring and recurrence may occur.
  • Cryotherapy, the treatment of choice for all types of warts including mucosal, causes rapid cooling below freezing point followed by thawing, by applying substances like liquid nitrogen and carbon dioxide snow using various types of probes.

For more information consult a warts specialist online -->

Frequently Asked Questions


How to get rid of corns?

Identifying and treating the cause will solve the problem, but if it does not, try the following:
- Soak the affected part of the body like hands or feet in warm water for 10 minutes.
- You can file the corn using a pumice stone.
- Apply salicylic acid or moisturizer to the corn.
- You can use commercially available corn pads.


What causes corns?

Repeated pressure and friction results in the formation of corns. In the foot, this pressure can be due to wearing ill-fitted shoes and not wearing socks, and in the hands due to playing instruments or using hand tools.


What does corn on foot look like?

Corns have a hard center, which is surrounded by red and inflamed skin. Corn can be hard, soft, or seed. In the foot, corns are commonly seen on the top, sides, and in between the toes.


Do corns go away on their own?

If you eliminate the cause, that is pressure or friction, corns usually go away.


How to get rid of plantar warts?

The treatment options of plantar warts are:
- Topical salicylic cream.
- Liquid nitrogen.
- Curettage.
- Laser treatment.


What causes plantar warts?

Infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) causes plantar warts. This virus can enter the body through cuts and cracks on the bottom of the feet. There are many known strains of HPV, among which, only a few can cause warts.


How do you get plantar warts?

The HPV (human papillomavirus) strains that can cause plantar warts can enter the body through cuts or other weak areas in the feet. This virus lives in a warm and moist environment, so the virus can infect you if you walk barefoot on grass, bathrooms, and swimming pools.


How long does it take for plantar warts to go away?

It takes around 2 months for plantar warts to go away without treatment. Without treatment, it can take about 6 months to 2 years.


Do Plantar warts go away on their own?

Most plantar warts go away on their own. But it is advised to consult a doctor to eliminate all other causes, and your doctor can suggest home remedies or other treatment options.


Is plantar wart removal painful?

Wart removal procedures can be painful. But to prevent you from feeling any pain, the doctor will numb the area with the help of local anesthesia.


Can plantar warts be surgically removed?

Electrosurgery, which is the surgical removal of warts, is often done when all other treatment options fail. Here, a fine needle is used to burn the wart, but it can result in a scar.


Are plantar warts on feet contagious?

The strains of HPV that cause plantar warts are not that contagious, so you will not get infected that quickly.

Last reviewed at:
08 Sep 2022  -  2 min read




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