Metatarsalgia

(Pain in Ball of Foot)
  • Definition

    Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the ball of your foot. You may also feel pain in the big toe or the three toes closest to the big toe.
    Metatarsalgia
    metatarsalgia
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Causes

    Metatarsalgia can be caused by a number of conditions:
  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of developing metatarsalgia include:
    • Feet with high arches
    • Feet with abnormally long bones
    • Claw/ Hammer toes
    • High-impact sports
    • Being overweight
    • Wearing shoes that don’t fit well or high heels
    • Increased age—age-related atrophy of fat pad
    • Problems with circulation
    • Gout
    • Diabetes
    Claw Toes
    claw toe
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of metatarsalgia include:
    • Pain in the ball of the foot
    • Numbness or tingling in toes or foot
    • Pain when walking
    • Toe pain
    • Pain with movement
    • Sharp pain
    • Feeling like you are walking on pebbles
    • Associated back or leg pain
    • Weakness in the limb
  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist.
    Images may need to be taken of your foot. This can be done with x-ray .
  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
    Rest
    Rest is an important part of treatment. Elevate your foot on pillows and ice it to speed healing.
    Orthotics
    Your doctor may prescribe shoe inserts. They may help lessen pain and provide support. Your doctor may also recommend insoles. They may be shock absorbers, arch supporters, or special pads that protect your foot.
    Medication
    A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) may be advised to reduce pain and inflammation. A corticosteroid shot is sometimes injected into the foot to lessen pain.
    Surgery
    If there are foot problems that are causing the metatarsalgia, surgery may be recommended. The type of surgery depends upon what is causing the problem.
    Diet and Exercise
    If excessive weight is contributing to the foot pain, you may be asked to lose weight through diet and exercise.
  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting metatarsalgia, take the following steps:
  • RESOURCES

    American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics & Medicine http://www.acfaom.org

    American Physical Therapy Association http://www.apta.org

    American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society http://www.aofas.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    The Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org

    Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org

    References

    Metatarsalgia. American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics & Medicine website. Available at: http://www.acfaom.org/information-for-patients/common-conditions/metatarsalgia . Accessed November 5, 2008.

    Metatarsalgia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated January 31, 2014. Accessed February 18, 2014.

    Pain in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia). Merck Manuals website. Available at: http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec05/ch072/ch072b.html . Updated December 2012. Accessed May 1, 2013.

    Revision Information

  • Connect with Steward

    Visit Our Twitter Feed Visit Our Facebook Page Email This Page Share This Page Print This Page

    Subscribe to Believe

    Our electronic health news
    Copyright © 2014 Steward Health Care
    Connect Healthcare Panacea CMS Solutions