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This article does not constitute as medical advice.
If you are experiencing symptoms, contact your doctor or make an appointment.

What is Metatarsalgia?

The metatarsal region of the foot is also called the middle of the foot or the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia is when the ball of your foot becomes inflamed or painful. In addition, this sharp pain can feel like there is a pebble in your shoe that you can’t shake. You can typically treat nonsevere cases of Metarsalgia by resting. Learn how to care for this condition here:

Causes of Metatarsalgia

This condition has a number of causes. Metararsalgal pain is provoked by repeated pressure on the ball of the foot. Here are common causes of this injury: 

  • Overtraining: High impact activities or intense training activities that involve jumping, running, or anything that puts repetitive force on the ball of the foot. 
  • Ill-fitting shoes: Shoes that are too narrow put extra weight on this part of the foot. High heels or sneakers tied too tight are a common contribution to this issue. 
  • High arches: This foot shape brings excess pressure to the front of the foot, producing repetitive pounding on the ball with each step. 
  • Excessive weight: Those who are overweight or obese have extra weight to hold up. After a time, this puts too much pressure on the feet.  
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and Gout: Metararsalgal pain is one of the most common causes associated with Rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, gout can irritate this condition’s symptoms. 

Symptoms of Metatarsalgia/Metatarsal Pain

Symptoms of this condition can start as a dull pain but worsen over time. If left untreated, this can lead to discomfort in other areas of the body, such as the lower back.

  • Sharp pain in the ball or middle of the foot
  • Aching or burning pain on the ball of the foot
  • Pain that increases with running, jumping or flexing feet on a hard surface
  • An uncomfortable feeling like a pebble in a shoe
  • Development of a callus on the affected area

Treating Metatarsalgia/Metatarsal Pain

This condition can usually be treated at home with the RICE method and proper footwear. However, extreme cases should have medical treatment. If you are experiencing severe pain in the metatarsal region, contact our office today. 

  • Rest: Those participating in activities that aggravate pain will need to take a break until the pain subsides. 
  • Elevation: Elevate the foot while sitting or after periods of standing and walking.
  • Ice: Use an ice pack on the foot for 10-20 minutes at a time 
  • Footwear: Change into more comfortable and supportive footwear. Avoid heels and wear loose-fitting shoes. 
  • Shoe Inserts: Use gel-padded, shock-absorbing insoles in your shoes. Patients can also wear customized orthotic support for high-impact activities. 
  • Physical Therapy: Our office may recommend physical therapy for more severe cases. 
metatarsal pads

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