By JAY MERMELSTEIN, DPM
April 12, 2021
Category: Foot Care
While there are many reasons for foot pain, if the pain is concentrated in the ball of the foot (between the arches and your toes) then you could be dealing with an overuse injury known as metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia can be incredibly painful, making it difficult to stand or even walk without discomfort. If you suspect that you might be dealing with metatarsalgia, a podiatrist can quickly diagnose and treat your condition.
What are the signs of metatarsalgia?
You could be dealing with metatarsalgia if,
- You have foot pain that is exacerbated by standing, walking, or flexing your foot
- Foot pain gets better with rest
- You have a sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot
- There is a sharp or shooting pain in the toes
- Your toes tingle or feel numb
- You feel as if you have a stone in your shoe
Foot pain can happen for a variety of reasons, and mild symptoms typically won’t need medical intervention; however, if your foot pain lasts more than a few days then it might be time to consult your podiatrist.
What causes this foot problem?
Certain factors can certainly increase your risk of developing metatarsalgia. These risk factors include,
- Experiencing stress fractures in the toes
- Wearing high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box
- Being overweight or obese
- Having certain foot deformities such as bunions or hammertoes
- High arches
- Intense or endurance exercises such as long-distance running
How is metatarsalgia treated?
You can ease metatarsalgia pain and discomfort on your own through simple lifestyle changes including,
- Avoiding certain activities and exercises that make the pain worse (e.g., running)
- Wearing properly fitted and fully supportive shoes
- Avoiding high heels or shoes that are too tight
- Placing shoe inserts or padding under the metatarsal bones for further support
- Icing the area multiple times a day
- Taking a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medication
Any new or worsening foot pain should be addressed by your podiatrist, as different injuries and conditions will require unique and individualized care. Don’t ignore your foot pain. If you suspect that you might have metatarsalgia, call your foot doctor today.