Metatarsalgia Causes Pain in the Ball of the Foot

Your foot is such a complex structure with many bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments, it may be tricky to find the source of any foot pain.

A good example of this situation is metatarsalgia. Each foot has 5 metatarsal bones that run down the foot from the ankle to the toes. When subject to stress over time, the area around these bones can become inflamed and the adjacent ligaments, tendons and bone coverings will be irritated.

This condition is called metatarsalgia and causes gradually increasing pain in the toes or the ball of the foot. The pain will increase during sports activities or when walking barefoot. In some cases, a callus may form under the joint because of the excess pressure.

Metatarsalgia is a type of overuse injury that occurs from repeated stress without time for the foot to heal. Those at risk of this type of injury include:

  • Athletes in high-impact sports.
  • Participants in intense weight-bearing activities.
  • Those who are overweight.
  • Individuals with tight or weak toe muscles or certain deformities like hammertoe and claw toe.
  • Those with a tight Achilles tendon.
  • Individuals with a side-to-side gait movement or who have excessive foot pronation.

Treating Metatarsalgia

If you have persistent pain in the ball of your foot and toes that is not relieved by rest, visit us at Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute. We'll examine your feet and take x-rays to rule out a fracture. We may order an MRI to identify any neuroma or bursitis and to isolate the inflamed area.

Treating metatarsalgia and reducing the pressure on the painful area involves:

  • Rest from activities and sports.
  • Icing.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication, with your doctor's permission.
  • Switching your shoes to those that fit well and have extra support.
  • Being fitted for custom orthotics to redistribute pressure and reduce over-pronation.
  • Reducing foot stress by losing weight.

When the pain and inflammation have lessened, we'll introduce strengthening and stretching exercises and discuss how you can gradually return to your workout program.

Get Help for Ball of the Foot Pain

Dr. John Schilero, DPM, board certified podiatrist has the right experience to diagnose and treat all foot and ankle pain, including ball of the foot and toe pain. Please call us at 561-694-7776 EXT. 41 to make an appointment at one of our four offices conveniently located in Palm Beach County. You can also request an appointment at the website. Most foot problems will not get better on their own - call us today!