Debridement of plantar callosities in rheumatoid arthritis: a randomized controlled trial

H. J. Davys, Deborah Turner, P. S. Helliwell, P. G. Conaghan, P. Emery, James Woodburn

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43 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this research was to compare forefoot pain, pressure and function before and after normal and sham callus treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Thirty-eight RA patients were randomly assigned to normal (NCT group) or sham (SCT) scalpel debridement. The sham procedure comprised blunt-edged scalpel paring of the callus which delivered a physical stimulus but left the hyperkeratotic tissue intact, the procedure being partially obscured from the patient. Forefoot pain was assessed using a 100¿mm visual analogue scale (VAS), pressure using a high-resolution foot pressure scanner and function using the spatial–temporal gait parameters measured on an instrumented walkway. Radiographic scores of joint erosion were obtained for metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints with and without overlying callosities. The trial consisted of a randomized sham-controlled phase evaluating the immediate same-day treatment effect and an unblinded 4-week follow-up phase. Treatment of painful plantar callosities in RA using scalpel debridement lessened forefoot pain but the effect was no greater than sham treatment. Localized pressure or gait function was not significantly improved following treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004


  • rheumatology
  • rheumatoid arthritis


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