Running, jumping, dancing, walking, and even just standing—they all use your forefoot. The ball of your foot and your toes allow your lower limbs to push off the ground so you can propel yourself forward. Pain in the ball of the foot makes this normal motion uncomfortable, limiting your mobility. Ball-of-the-foot pain, also known as metatarsalgia, is a common problem that affects many people, but there are also many ways to treat it.
Metatarsalgia is a burning, aching pain in the forefoot. It’s actually a generalized term, not a specific condition, referring to inflammation in the ball of the foot. It can describe other specific conditions, including sesamoiditis, Morton’s neuroma, or a stone bruise. Even callus build-up, stress fractures, and a few less common problems can fit under the metatarsalgia umbrella.
Ultimately, this general problem describes pain in the ball of the foot that feels worse under pressure and improves somewhat with rest. When you put weight on the affected foot, usually you experience sharp, burning pain that may be localized under one or more joints. Depending on the cause, you may develop shooting pains or numbness in your toes as well. Some people describe a sensation like walking with a pebble under the ball of the foot. Typically, the condition is the result of repetitive hard impacts or excessive pressure over time, but symptoms can appear suddenly as well.
Fortunately, metatarsalgia can be simple to treat and eliminate. Our team at Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC, will examine your lower limbs to identify the ball of the foot pain and work out the best treatment plan for your needs. Those methods may include shoe changes to reduce pressure on the forefoot. Avoid narrow shoes or high heels that put abnormal pressure on your forefoot; instead, stick to styles that support your feet. Orthotics may help with weight distribution and supporting your feet as well. You can also use padded insoles or metatarsal pads to add an extra layer of cushioning under your forefoot. Icing the ball of your foot may help with inflammation, while addressing calluses may help with problems from skin lesion build-up.
What’s better than treating ball-of-the-foot pain like metatarsalgia is, of course, preventing it. There are many ways you can support your feet so you prevent the forefoot inflammation, pain, and potential nerve issues. Wearing appropriately supportive shoes with low heels is one of the best ways to prevent the problem—particularly when you’re active. Condition your feet for your activities, and give your lower limbs a chance to rest and recover. Maintaining a healthy weight and using orthotics to correct biomechanical errors may help as well.
Metatarsalgia is a common problem that encompasses many ball-of-the-foot issues. The pain it causes can interfere with your favorite hobbies and other activities, and even limit your mobility in daily life. Taking care of the problem before it gets that far is key. Let our specialists with Gulf South Foot & Ankle, LLC, help you eliminate your lower limb discomfort so you can get back to doing what you love. Call us or use our online form to request a consultation today.