What is metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is a general term used to describe pain around your toes or the ball of your foot. This may be around a single joint or may give widespread pain around all the toes.
What are the causes of metatarsalgia?
- Pain is usually caused by repeated physical stress and loading of the metatarsal heads (long bones in your feet). The big toe joint and the 2nd toe are commonly affected.
- Tight fitting, high heeled shoes
- Increased body weight.
- Inflammation of the nerve that supplies the toes (Morton's Neuroma) can also cause pain.
- Joint stiffness or deformity of the foot or toes.
- Reduced blood supply to the bones can cause pain, although this is a relatively rare situation.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Pain in the ball of your foot which is worse with standing or walking.
- Pain usually eases with rest and soft insoled shoes.
- Often the problem starts as an ache and gradually becomes more painful if simple measures are not taken.
How do I manage this problem?
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Keep your weight under control.
- Exercises including stretches to improve the flexibility in the joints and muscles around your ankle and foot.
What other treatments are available?
- Your podiatrist may recommend orthotic inserts for your footwear to ease the pressure in the painful area. This may be in the form of metatarsal pads or a heel wedge.
- An X-ray or scan may be recommended to look for other causes of your pain if symptoms persist after regular treatment.