A callus is an area of thickened skin located on the bottom of the foot, in most cases on the ball of the foot and/or heel. 

Cause of Callus

The most common cause of calluses on the ball of the foot is “declination” of one or more of the five metatarsal bones present in each foot. Since one or more of these metatarsal bones is/are lower than the others, the bone(s) bear more weight. A callus forms under the end of the metatarsal bone to protect the bone from trauma. In the case of some severe calluses, a small core or “nucleus” can be found within the callus and if present, the patient usually feels as though he/she is walking on a small pebble.

Symptoms of Callus

  • Hardened thick skin
  • A dry scaly bump will form 
  • Tenderness or pain with activity although pain is not common

When to Seek Treatment 

We recommend making an appointment with one of our podiatrists if the callus becomes painful or bothersome. 

It is important to seek treatment if you are a diabetic to prevent the callus from becoming an ulcer.  


To resolve Calluses it is important to take care of the foot and wear proper shoes. If callus does not improve we recommend making an appointment with a provider a Premier Foot and Ankle for treatment.

  • Supportive footwear or custom orthotics. At Premier Foot and Ankle Center we use an innovative method called a VFAS procedure to fit orthotics that can be taken home the same day.
  • Callus medication (salicylic acid) can be used over the counter or prescribed by a physician. 
  • In some cases, surgery is recommended.

Callus Surgery

The procedure most often performed at Premier Foot and Ankle Center is as follows:

  • A small incision (approximately 1/8 inch) is on the top of the foot at the neck of the affected metatarsal bone
  • Using a special drill, a small cut is made across the metatarsal bone and the head is repositioned toward the top of the foot.
  • This redistributes the body weight among the metatarsal heads and the callus fades.
  • If the callus has a “nucleus,” this is removed from the bottom of the foot with a laser and is sent to our pathology lab for analysis.
  • In most cases, this “nucleus” is a “Porokeratoma” or a benign “plugged sweat gland.”


Recovery is much quicker than traditional surgery. Skin takes 2 weeks to heal. Patients will be in a post-surgical shoe post-operatively and transferred to regular shoes in 2 weeks.