The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics is redefining the way musculoskeletal care is delivered across the region with locations throughout Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
If you are dealing with pain or discomfort in the ball of your foot, there’s a possibility that you’re suffering from a condition known as metatarsalgia. The condition is aptly named because it affects the bones at the base of your toe toes called the metatarsals. As you might imagine, pain in the ball of your feet can be extremely uncomfortable and make simple movements like walking or running quite painful. Below, we take a closer look at why metatarsalgia develops and how the condition is treated.
Metatarsalgia involves uncomfortable inflammation in the ball of your foot and affects people of all ages and in many different walks of life. However, because overuse is one of the most causes of inflammation onset, it tends to be more common among athletes, runners and people who spend a large amount of time on their feet each day. Being upright and active is great for your health, but if you put too much stress on the ball of your foot, metatarsalgia can set in.
Metatarsalgia can develop out of trauma to the region, like if you suffered direct trauma to the area from a fall, or due to stress changes caused by the onset of other toe conditions, like bunions or hammertoes. High foot arches, being overweight and unsupportive footwear choices like high heels are also risk factors for metatarsalgia onset.
Symptoms of metatarsalgia include:
The condition tends to be more common between the second and third toes, but can develop at different areas in the ball of your foot.
If pain and tenderness in the ball of your foot persists for more than a few days, it may be wise to set up a consultation with a foot specialist, especially if you are an athlete or suffered trauma to the area. Your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms and conduct a physical exam to see if they can pinpoint the area of discomfort. Metatarsalgia can be diagnosed without imaging exams, but your doctor may recommend one in order to rule out a more serious issue, like a stress fracture.
Metatarsalgia tends to respond well to conservative treatment, so your doctor will walk you through the standard non-operative protocol. While treatment will vary from patient to patient, the most common non-operative treatments involve a combination or rest/high-impact activity avoidance, over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, icing, elevating the foot and low-impact exercises to help an individual lose a little weight and take some stress off the ball of your foot. Changing to a more protective and supportive shoe will also help to treat the issue and prevent it from returning, as can custom orthotics.
Most cases of metatarsalgia will resolve over the course of a few days or weeks, but lifestyle interventions like weight loss and footwear changes may be required to help keep the condition from returning.
For more information about metatarsalgia treatment techniques, or for help managing a different foot or ankle condition, reach out to the team at The Centers For Advanced Orthopaedics today at (703) 584-2040.