Aching Ball of the Foot Pain: Metatarsalgia

Think for a moment about the ball of your foot. You use it for so many things in your daily life without even realizing it. If you were struggling with ball of the foot pain, however, you would be acutely aware of just how important this part of your foot is! This pain, called metatarsalgia, can keep you from enjoying an active life, but with the right care you can eliminate it and get back to doing what you love.

How Ball of the Foot Pain Affects You

Ball of Foot PainThe ball of your foot is an important surface in your lower limbs. It’s the point in your forefoot where your long metatarsal bones meet your toes. This part of the foot helps you balance, absorb shock and hard impacts, and push off the ground to walk. As a result of all this, the ball of your foot must deal with heavy pressure every day. This can take a toll over time.

Metatarsalgia is inflammation and pain in the ball of the foot from overuse. It’s actually a general problem and can include more specific types of forefoot pain, like sesamoiditis and capsulitis. Eventually, pressure and irritation in the forefoot inflames the tissues there, making it very uncomfortable for you to put weight on the ball of your foot. You may feel a burning, stabbing or aching sensation in your forefoot when it’s under pressure. Jumping, running, walking, and even standing can trigger discomfort, which means you aren’t able to enjoy your favorite athletic activities. This, of course, limits your ability to be active and independent.

Where It Came From

Because metatarsalgia is a general problem, it can have many different causes. Overworking the feet during activities is the most common source. Repetitive pounding, training too hard, poor warm ups, and anything else that overworks the feet can all contribute to ball of the foot pain.

Poorly-fitted and worn out shoes are also common culprits. Footwear that doesn’t fit right, or no longer supports the lower limbs, stresses the feet and allows them to become overworked. High heels and super-flat styles can also contribute to the problem. Sometimes preexisting conditions or your natural foot shape play a role in your ball of the foot pain. High arches, long second toes, bunions, and hammertoes all direct excessive pressure to the forefoot. Even being overweight can stress the feet and contribute to your discomfort.

What You Can Do about It

Metatarsalgia can be treated conservatively, though, so you don’t have to resign yourself to giving up your favorite activities to alleviate your pain. Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen and the team will need to evaluate your forefoot to check for complications like stress fractures. After that, our team can help you begin treatment to eliminate your pain.

Since this is an overuse injury, the most effective and important remedy is rest. Take a break from all hard impact activities and cut down the time you spend on your feet if you can. Ice the ball of your foot when it hurts to reduce inflammation and subsequently your discomfort. You might need to change your shoes as well—avoid styles that contribute to pressure on your forefoot, like narrow models that squeeze your toes or high heels. Instead, wear footwear with cushioned soles and plenty of arch support. Padded inserts or custom orthotics may reduce pressure on your feet as well. We might also recommend anti-inflammatory medications for persistent pain.

Metatarsalgia is limiting and makes your life uncomfortable. The right care, however, can eliminate the problem and get you back to living an active life. Don’t settle for living with foot problems! Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Parker and Castle Pines, CO, can help you keep your lower limbs healthy. Call (303) 805-5156 or use the web request form to make an appointment with our team and do something about your ball of the foot pain today.

Photo Credit: Alexis via Pixabay.com

Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC