What is Metatarsalgia?

Forefoot injuries, such as metatarsalgia, are common among athletes who participate in high-impact sports in the United States. Running and leaping activities are the most common culprits. While track and field athletes are the most vulnerable, forefoot injuries are common in tennis, football, baseball, and soccer players.

What is Metatarsalgia?

Discomfort and swelling in the ball of the foot get referred to as metatarsalgia. Upon that bottom of the foot, this is the area in between arches and the toes. Metatarsalgia is a condition that affects the metatarsals, the five joints at the base of the toes. Metatarsalgia pain gets caused by a variety of illnesses and is treated in a variety of ways.

Causes of Metatarsalgia

A woman grabbing her feet during yoga’s position

Metatarsalgia occurs when too much pressure gets exerted on the ball area of your foot. 

There are several causes of metatarsalgia to occur. All of the causes of metatarsalgia are listed below in detail!

1. Intense Activity: Distance runners are at risk for metatarsalgia! Since the front of the foot absorbs a lot of stress while they run. Anyone who engages in a high-impact sport is at the possibility!

2. Foot Shapes: You can have it if you have a high arch. Having a second toe that is longer than the big toe can also be beneficial. It causes more weight to get moved to the second metatarsal head.

3. Excess Weight: When you move, your body weight goes to your forefoot, putting more pressure on your metatarsals. Weight loss may help to alleviate or eliminate symptoms.

4. Ill-fitted Shoes: Metatarsalgia in women exists caused by high heels, which carry extra weight to the front of the foot. Shoes with a limited toe area or sports shoes lacking comfort and cushioning can also exacerbate the condition.

5. Morton’s Neuroma: Between the third and fourth metatarsal heads, fibrous tissue grows noncancerous. It can create symptoms similar to metatarsalgia and add to metatarsal stress.

Metatarsalgia Risk Factors

Other than causes, M

metatarsalgia risk factors increase your chances of suffering. Below are some metatarsalgia risk factors mentioned:

  • Take part in high-impact sports such as sprinting and jumping.
  • Wear high heels, shoes that do not fit right, or spiked shoes like cleats.
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have other foot issues, such as hammertoe or calluses on the soles of your feet.
  • Have inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid or gouty arthritis.

Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

The most common symptom of metatarsalgia is discomfort under the ball of the foot in the metatarsal region. Bruising, swelling, and inflammation may or may not accompany metatarsalgia. Symptoms of metatarsalgia might appear suddenly or gradually over time. They are as follows:

  • Sharp or scorching pain in the ball of the foot is standard! When you stand, run, or stroll, the discomfort may get worse.
  • In your toes, you may experience numbness or tingling.
  • The sensation of stepping on a stone

If any of these symptoms of metatarsalgia persist, you should consult your doctor. Metatarsalgia left untreated can lead to hammertoes, a limp, and pain in other parts of the body. When you compensate and begin to walk improperly, you put a lot of strain on your lower back and hip.

Diagnosis of Metatarsalgia

In the diagnosis of metatarsalgia, X-rays are used by your doctor. The purpose is to rule out other potential reasons for forefoot discomfort. An X-ray of the bones can reveal areas of inflammation. Your doctor may take X-rays to rule out other possible causes of forefoot soreness. Inflammation gets shown on an X-ray of the bones. The MRI gets requested by your physician to investigate for sources of discomfort in the metatarsal and mid regions.

Traumatic illnesses, circulatory disorders, arthritis, neuro arthropathies, and ailments that produce biomechanical imbalance are examples. Other tests, procedures may be performed by the doctor to assist in making a diagnosis of metatarsalgia. 

Treatment of Metatarsalgia

Now that you have read the diagnosis, we would like to provide you with more information on the treatment of metatarsalgia. The section has been divided into three sections: medical treatment, medication, and recovery!

Look below to learn about the treatment of metatarsalgia!

1. Medical Treatment

  • Keep your feet off the ground. For a while, avoid high-impact activities and prop up your injured foot wherever possible.
  • The afflicted foot should get iced. Roll that over a chilled bottle of water to see what happens.
  • Apply a pressure bandage to the wound.
  • In your shoes, use cushioned cushions, arch supports, or other orthotics.
  • Stretch and strengthen your muscles gently.
  • Use pumice stone

If a callus on the bottom of your foot is causing you pain, the surgeon can scratch it away to relieve the pressure. The doctor might recommend surgery to correct bone abnormalities as a treatment of metatarsalgia.

2. Medication

Ibuprofen and naproxen are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. They can ease the pain temporarily.

Moreover, if your pain exists caused by a pinched nerve, your doctor may prescribe a nerve block along with long-acting steroids!

3. Recovery 

Once the discomfort has subsided, you can gradually resume normal activities by increasing stretching and strengthening exercises. At the start, try a low-impact workout like swimming.

Metatarsalgia Complications

If you do not treat metatarsalgia, it can progress to other issues. To relieve pressure on the affected area of your foot, you may alter your walking style. However, it can lead to discomfort in other parts of your foot, including your other foot, as well as your lower back and hips. It is even possible to develop a hammertoe.

Metatarsalgia Re-injury Prevention

You can avoid another round of metatarsalgia by taking proper care of your feet.

  • Get shoes that are the right size. If you are a runner, you should replace your shoes regularly.
  • Avoid wearing high heels.
  • Use pads, arch supports, or other orthotics as directed by your doctor.
  • Prevent calluses from forming. Immerse your feet and use a sharp object to scrub the region.
  • Get your weight down to a healthy level.
  • Increase the amount and intensity of your sports workouts gradually.
  • Always stretch and warm-up before exercising.

Bottom Line

A variety of conditions can trigger metatarsalgia or discomfort in the ball of your foot. Choose shoes with good bottoms, avoiding walking barefoot. Moreover, using a pumice stone to remove calluses from the feet is the standard treatment.

We recommend checking out treatment options for curved options.