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Metatarsalgia

Overview

Metatarsalgia is a term used for any pain found in the ball of the foot, where the metatarsals of the foot lie. Metatarsalgia can encompass several syndromes. Examples include: Metatarso-phalangeal joint stress syndrome, neuroma, stress fracture, capsulitis, or bursitis in the ball of the foot.

Symptoms
  • Pain in the ball of the foot, most commonly under 2nd and 3rd metatarsal heads.
  • Pain worsens with exercise and weightbearing and improves with rest. Pain is mostly felt during the toe-off phase of walking.
Risk Factors
  • Pronation
  • High arches: ground force pressures are increased at the forefoot in persons with high arches
  • Tight footwear: shoes can exert a compression force on the ball of the foot which can cause pain.
  • Bunions: Having a deviated big toe can lead to more pressure and stabilisation required for the 2nd and 3rd toes. This increased pressure can lead to metatarsalgia
  • Clawed toes and hammer toes: Clawed toes can exert a back pressure at the ball of the foot, increasing risk for pain.
  • Tight calves: Tight calves can increase the weight applied onto the front of the foot, which can lead to metatarsalgia.
Treatment
  • Treatment options for metatarsalgia depend on the specific cause of pain. Usually rest will improve symptoms. However, as daily activity can reduce amount of rest needed, management of metatarsalgia involve mimicking rest via proper footwear, and corrective inserts and/or padding.
  • Stretching: Achilles, and calf muscles should be regularly stretched to reduce ball of foot pressures.
  • Custom orthotics can be used with multiple goals: to reduce forefoot pressures and to improve biomechanical function to prevent further pain.
Articles about Metatarsalgia by Feet First Clinic

Book an appointment for metatarsalgia

You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or phoning the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).