Metatarsalgia is a general term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region of the foot which is the area just before the toes, commonly referred to as the ball of the foot. This common foot disorder affects the bones and joints at the ball of the foot.
With this foot condition, one or more of the metatarsal heads at the ball of the foot become painful and/or inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. It can be common to experience severe, frequent, or chronic pain with metatarsalgia. Pain at the ball of the foot is often caused from improperly fitted footwear, especially women’s dress shoes and other restrictive footwear. Shoes with a narrow toe box that forces the ball of the foot into a minimal amount of space can inhibit the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.
Wearing shoes with heels that are too high or participating in high impact activities without proper footwear and/or orthotics can also cause excessive pressure in the ball of the foot resulting in metatarsalgia. Also, as we age, the fat pad in our foot tends to thin out, making us much more susceptible to pain in the ball of the foot.
The first step in treating metatarsalgia is to determine the cause of the pain. If improperly fitted footwear is the cause of the pain, the footwear must be changed. When the Shoe Fits can help off load the pressure to the ball of the foot with a variety of foot care products. Inserts can be modified to allow the foot to spread out. Shoes with a rocker sole will also reduce stress on the ball of the foot.