Time to discuss a clinical topic Section

Managing Painful Corns – a patient provides her own take on treatment

Painful corns are more debilitating than many realise

When Cheryl had her surgery performed she had reached the end of her tether. I perform skin reconstruction on corns where there is a chance to achieve a good result. The main objective is to try to provide comfort and reduce the need for patients to have frequent podiatry (chiropody) where the skin is reduced often under painful experience. Cutting corns out usually fails but replacing the skin with a new fat pad taken from our patient’s foot can restore the damaged fat. I am grateful to Cheryl for recounting her  experience in her own words…

“Okay so before I had this operation my life revolved around my foot as it was causing so much pain to the point of of changing how I walked & what footwear I could actually wear.

I have a physical job so on my feet all day plus 2 dogs that required an hour in the morning & an hour in the afternooon walk plus our holidays are walking holidays.

I had been receiving regular treatment over the past 5 years & although they couldn’t help permanently they did relieve the pain every 6 weeks. It wasn’t till 2015 that I actually found out that surgery was an option. I visited my GP about something else but happened to mention my left foot as by this time my right hip was aching which I believe was due to the way I was walking. My Dr referred me to Mr Tollafield.

Mr Tollafield explained everything to me regarding the surgery, the risks to the operation, the chances of success plus the risk of infection.

Once the operation was over I received great aftercare & clear simple advice to the aftercare that was required by myself once home.

For 2 weeks after operation I stayed in bed completely apart from toilet/shower.
3rd week – I went downstairs just for a few hours but wore the boot provided.
4th week – short walks to the local shop with boot & crutches provided.
5th week – Boot off and was able to drive (phew)
6th week – Back to work

Since my op, which I took 6 weeks off work due to my profession as I do think if I had an office job I would have been back sooner but my foot has healed well, no infections & its comfortable. Every night I put bio oil on my foot & I wear a gel metatarsal strap whilst I’m at work.

So…was it worth 6 weeks of no income?…it so was….I can wear high heals again (yay) so my outfits do not work around what simple shoes I can wear but more importantly my day to day working life is pain free & on a happy note my dog walks are not confined to fields now ..the canal tow path is no longer my enemy but an enjoyment once more.

So if your reading this …GO FOR THIS OPERATION …”

Cheryl C.


Ask for my brochure by contacting Spire Little Aston Hospital; Geraldine 0121 580 7302 or e-mail geraldine.fahy@spirehealth.com

Comments (3)

  1. Very impressive and innovative surgery. A debilitating condition that never warrants a headline in the Podiatry world but causes compensatory gait leading to knee and hip pain causing a miserable life for the patient. You are a skilled man to be able to reconstruct the skin and adipose tissue anyway; but to do it on the foot then it becomes a different level when weight bearing comes into play. Michele Marchant (Podiatrist, Devon)

  2. Hi Michele, the procedure has been available for many years so please do not offer me any special congratulations even though kindly meant. Like most things, the skill is not necessarily in the performance of the technique but selecting the right patient. Much that we have learned about corns and callus comes from the century before last, and even modern kinesiology techniques are less reliable in predicting keratin changes in normal patients. We know little about adipose tissue and the reaction of adipocytes to different strains and stresses and not all can be explained by the so called ‘biomechanical’ models. Many such lesions arise due to the HP virus and yet remain difficult to differentiate even in skilled hands. The flap, once healed will resist fresh pressures but even then patients are advised to use interactive orthoses to limited build up. This is a massive subject that sadly UK podiatry has turned its back on, despite the subject contributing to a core part of our work. David Tollafield in reply

  3. Great patient story David. The “miracle of podiatry”. Very few professionals know the misery of constant foot pain and its debilitating effects. I hope Cheryl continues to do well. Lyndon Jones (Podiatric Surgeon, Salisbury)

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