Ball-of-Foot Pain

By The Foot Care Aide | September 1, 2009

What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia or ball-of-foot pain is something that many people experience from time to time.  It is more common in some people than others.  Here you can learn how to identify the area, find the causes, treat them and avoid the pain in the future. 

What is the Ball of the Foot?

If you look at the bottom of your foot, you will see the area where the bases of the toes meet the rest of the foot.  The area is muscular and easily blistered.  Runners and ballerinas try to keep most of their weight on this area to achieve better balance. 

Metatarsalgia is the diagnosis given, especially when the pain is concentrated in the area beneath the largest and second largest toes.  It is commonly referred to as a stone bruise.  

What Causes Ball-of-foot Pain?

There are many things that can cause it.  It is a relatively common problem, occurring in athletes and non-athletic types alike.  The area takes a beating. 

Wearing high heeled shoes can cause the problem, because of the increased and unnatural pressure put on the area.  Dancing on the toes, as a ballerina would can cause the problem, but dancers typically become somewhat toughened and toe shoes help. 

A minor injury, like stepping on a stone, is a common cause.  Simply, coming down on the ball of the foot too hard can cause it, too.  Hard soled shoes with little support increase the risk of injury.  Corns or calluses in the area are common and very painful, as well.

How to Treat Ball-of-foot Pain

There are a number of different insoles and cushions specifically designed to relieve the painful condition.  Many of them will also help take pressure off of corns and calluses.  Here’s a look at a few products.   

Silipos Ball of Foot Cushions

This thin gelatin-cushion acts like a shock absorber.  It is designed to fit comfortably under socks and shoes, which should always be worn until the area heals.  In other words, avoid going barefoot and risking additional injury. Click Here for Silipos Ball-of-Foot Cushions

Foot-Smart Metatarsal Sleeves

A large circle of soft gelatin sits directly under the ball of the foot to protect it from pressure.  The elastic band keeps the gelatin-circle in the right spot as you walk. Click Here for Metatarsal Sleeves

Metatarsal Insoles

Metatarsal insoles are designed to provide extra support to the ball of the foot.  Unlike the cushions and sleeves, they fit into the shoe, instead of around your foot.  Some people feel that the design is cooler and more comfortable than other options.

How To Prevent Ball-of-foot Pain in the Future

Always choose shoes with a low heel that fit well.  Gelatin insoles are a good option.

Unless you are walking on a clean beach, avoid going barefoot.  Remember that our shoes protect us from injury.

While occasional pain is common, chronic pain in the area can be due to wearing a shoe that is too tight, which can cause the formation of a bunion.  Choosing a wider size can help prevent ball-of-foot pain, bunions and similar problems.

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