Metatarsalgia (Pain in the Ball of the Foot)
Metatarsalgia is a generic term for pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia results from excessive forces being placed on the ball of the foot. The pain is often more diffuse and involves one or more of the joints of the ball of the foot. This can be a result of increased activity, non-supportive shoe gear, foot deformities or excessive weight. Metatarsalgia may be the result of other conditions such as capsulitis, Mortons neuroma, or a stress fracture.
Symptoms of Metatarsalgia are wide ranging but typically presents as an aching pain in the ball of the foot. It is usually an overuse injury which worsens with prolonged standing or activity. The pain is usually worse barefoot or in flexible shoes especially when on a hard surface.
Metatarsalgia is an overuse injury resulting in excessive forces being placed on the ball of the foot. The excessive force may be a result of an inherent biomechanical abnormality of the foot or an external change in force to a normal foot.
Biomechanical abnormalities of the foot include; high arched foot, hammertoe deformities, tight Achilles tendon, excessive pronation (flattening of the foot when walking), prominent metatarsal heads, and bunion deformities.
External forces include shoe gear which promotes excessive forces on the ball of the foot. High heel shoes are a common cause of Metatarsalgia in women. Some of the newer minimalistic running shoes can also result in excessive pressure on the ball of the foot. High impact sports or an increase in training can also result Metatarsalgia. Excessive body weight can also result in excessive pressure in the ball of the foot.
Because Metatarsalgia is more of a symptom rather than a specific disease a detailed history and physical is essential to determine the underlying cause of the pain. X-rays are often performed to rule out a stress fracture or arthritic process. In some cases a MRI or Ultrasound will be performed to identify a Mortons neuroma.
Conservative treatment is designed to decrease excessive force on the forefoot. This can be accomplished with an alteration of shoe gear, accommodative padding, OTC innersoles, and custom orthotics.
Should conservative therapy fail to alleviate the condition surgery may be an option to manage an underlying biomechanical deformity.
*For products designed to decrease excessive force on the forefoot we recommend footsupplystore.com
*If you are experiencing pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot and would like to identify the underlying cause, please call our office (numbers below) or fill out the contact form.