Metatarsalgia is a general term for pain beneath the ball of the foot, or the area just before the toes. The pain is may be located beneath the second, third and fourth metatarsal heads, or may be more isolated at the first metatarsal head behind the big toe.

The main symptom of metatarsalgia is ball-of-foot pain that typically:

  • presents as a dull ache, much like a bruise;

  • may cause you to favour the outside edge of your foot;

  • worsens when walking barefoot, especially on hard surfaces;

  • improves with good running shoes, especially those with forefoot cushioning.

Onset is usually gradual, but may be sudden if the result of trauma to the ball of the foot.

Metatarsalgiais usually the result of an abundance of pressure on one area of thefoot, but the cause of this pressure needs to be investigated by your podiatrist. Bunions, hammertoes, short metatarsal bones, high-archedfeet, stress fractures and arthritis are all possible causes of metatarsalgia.

Itis important to see your podiatrist if you think you may be sufferingfrom metatarsalgia. Following investigation of its cause, your treatmentmay include:

  • rest from aggravating activities;

  • ice to reduce inflammation;

  • anti-inflammatory medication;

  • footwear changes to absorb shock and help support your feet;

  • prescription orthotics.

Prescriptionorthotics are one of the one of the most important means of treatingmetatarsalgia, because they can both reduce pressure on the painful area on the ball of your foot, and correct any walking abnormalities that may have caused or exacerbated your condition.

If you suspect you have metatarsalgia, or are experiencing any pain under the ball of your foot, contact us.