Metatarsalgia is an all-encompassing term for any ball of foot pain. From metatarsal damage to nerve issues and more, there are a number of potential causes of this broad condition. Before you can get treatment, you need to ascertain the source of the pain first. Otherwise you will feel like you are spinning your wheels.
Nerve damage is a common cause of pain in the ball of the foot. Morton’s neuroma is a nerve condition that results in a burning or tingling sensation. Some people even describe it as though they are standing on a rock in their shoe. A neuroma may develop as a result of wearing shoes that are too tight, having poor posture, or even simple aging. Conservative methods such as corticosteroid injections, icing the affected area, or wearing a cushioned insert in your shoe may provide relief, though in extremely severe cases we may find that surgically removing the neuroma is necessary However, this can lead to permanent numbness around the ball of your foot, so it should only be used if symptoms are severe and conservative treatments fail.
Metatarsal Joint Pain
Another very common cause is metatarsal joint pain. This discomfort is felt when the joints are out of alignment. More often than not, arthritis is to blame. In many cases, the joint pain is accompanied by hammertoe, a toe deformity characterized by the bending of the toe to resemble a hammer or mallet. As people age they lose the fat and cushioning that surrounds the joints, which can push them out of alignment. You may experience swelling and your feet may feel warm to the touch. Many people are able to ease their pain with the use of special shoes or orthotics. Wearing thicker-soled shoes or ones with rocker bottoms can help take away some of the pressure on the affected area. In rare cases surgery may be needed.
There are many other reasons why you may have metatarsalgia. Sesamoiditis, a fracture of the tiny bones near the big toe, is an overuse injury that can occur to anyone but is often seen in athletes. Like any fracture, you need to treat it with care and allow it to heal properly by resting your feet. You may also take medications prescribed by a doctor for pain.
Freiberg’s disease is another cause for pain. It is often found in teenaged girls and occurs when the tissue near the big toe dies. It usually happens during puberty when young girls are going through their growth spurt. They may feel more pain when bearing weight or when wearing tight high-heeled shoes. Pain can often be eased with the use of corticosteroid injections or by immobilizing the foot with a splint or a cast. Stay away from shoes that cramp your feet and put pressure on the ball of your foot.
Need a Doctor?
For more information regarding pain in and around the ball of your feet, call Dr. Mark Gasparini at (516) 804-9038 to schedule an appointment in our Massapequa, NY office.