Corn / Callus / Hard skin of the ball of the foot

Skin lesions at the ball of the foot are common and develop due to increased pressure when walking. The problem can either be isolated to one area, of the ball of the foot, or across the whole of the forefoot. In the case where there is an isolated lesion this is often related to a prominent metatarsal or due to redistribution of pressure secondary to the development of a bunion, tailor’s bunion and hallux limitus (stiff big toe joint). Hard skin formation across the whole of the forefoot can be related to certain foot types such as a high or low arched foot as well as tightness within the calf muscles.

Non-surgical treatment can include:

  • stretching exercises
  • insoles / padding
  • footwear alteration
  • Debridement / reduction of the corn

Surgery would address length or prominence issues by cutting and repositioning of the bones. This repositioning makes them less pronounced on the sole of the foot and thereby reduces the amount of pressure. Often hard skin can develop due to related problems including bunions or a tightness of the calf muscle. If stretching exercises have failed to resolve this the calf muscles can be lengthened through a procedure called a gastrocnemius recession.