It’s common to have sore feet, and most people experience it at some point in their lives. It’s especially true for those who remain on their feet all day at work or are extremely active. However, there may be times when you experience specific pain in the ball of your foot—pain that goes from manageable to overwhelming. In these cases, it’s possible that you are dealing with metatarsalgia. A qualified podiatrist can help you find a solution to reduce or eliminate the pain.
Understanding Metatarsalgia and How It Affects Your Feet
Metatarsalgia is a medical term for inflammation or recurring pain in the ball of your foot. Patients who spend a lot of time running, climbing, or playing sports are at a higher risk for developing this foot condition.
- Aching, burning, or sharp stabbing pain in or near the ball of the foot
- Foot numbness or reduced sensation
- Shooting pains radiating from the ball of your foot into other areas
- Tingling sensations, particularly in the toes
- Uncomfortable sensation near the ball of the foot that doesn’t go away—as if there’s a small rock stuck in your shoe
- Worsening pain during physical activity and subsiding pain while sitting still and resting
Even after a heavy workout, people who experience these types of symptoms find they often go away on their own. However, it’s important to consult a podiatrist if these symptoms continue for more than a few days.
Having constant foot pain can interfere with nearly every aspect of your life, and metatarsalgia makes everyday tasks much more difficult, especially if you are expected to walk or stand for hours during a work shift. If left untreated, metatarsalgia can worsen over time and lead to additional issues that require more serious solutions. That’s why it’s important to learn the root cause of the pain as early as possible.
Causes of Metatarsalgia
- Abnormalities or deformities in foot shape
- Morton’s Neuroma (tissue compressing around a nerve if you wear tight shoes)
- Physical conditions that put extra strain on the feet such as obesity
- Overusing the foot, especially in long, difficult exercises without a proper warm-up
- Stress fractures from repetitive hard movements
- Wearing the wrong kind of shoes that pinch or put awkward pressure on the ball of the foot during physical activity
How to Treat Ball of Foot Pain
To determine the root cause of your ball of foot pain, you should schedule an appointment with an experienced podiatrist. After a thorough checkup, a podiatrist can help determine why you are experiencing this painful foot condition.
A diagnosis allows you to move forward to a solution tailored to your specific needs and lifestyle. The answer may be as simple and conservative as a change in footwear, or you may require a different type of treatment.
Types of Treatment for Metatarsalgia
- Changing to a different size or brand of shoe
- Being fitted for customized orthotics built around your specific foot shape to avoid pressure on the areas with the most discomfort and pain
- Taking medication to handle the pain symptoms while you address the cause of the metatarsalgia
- Including stretching and other warm-ups to your exercise routine
- Undergoing surgery or other treatments in more extreme cases