Foot Surgery: Neuroma or Plantar Callus

Tight shoes and high heels can place extra pressure on the ball of your foot, causing neuromas and calluses. A neuroma is an inflamed nerve. It can cause pain, numbness, or burning. A plantar callus is a buildup of hard skin on the ball of the foot. The callus may feel like a stone in your shoe.

There are many nonsurgical treatments for neuromas and calluses. But if these are not helpful, surgery may be considered.

Image of neuroma; and of  neuroma removed


When 2 metatarsal bones are squeezed together, they may pinch the nerve that runs between them. The pinched nerve can become swollen and painful. This often happens at the base of the third and the fourth toes. Standing or walking for a while can increase the pain.

Neuroma removal

The enlarged part of the inflamed nerve is removed. Most often, you can bear weight on your foot right away. You may have to wear a surgical shoe for a few weeks. When healed, a small area may feel numb, where part of the nerve was taken out.

Image of plantar callus

Plantar callus

When one metatarsal bone is longer or lower than the others, it presses on the skin beneath, forming a callus. Wearing shoes with thin soles and high heels can also place extra pressure on the ball of your foot. As a result, the callus may cause foot pain and irritation.

Bone removal

The affected metatarsal bone is cut and aligned with the other metatarsals (oblique osteotomy). Screws or pins may be used to hold the bone in place. Only part of the metatarsal bone is removed. The plantar callus should go away on its own over time.