Metatarsalgia is the name given to pain in the front part of your foot under the heads of your metatarsal bones (the ball of your foot). The metatarsals are the bones which connect your toes to the tarsal bones and they support your full body weight when walking and running.
Badly Fitting Footwear
Narrow Toe Box
Bone Structure of the Foot
Narrow, high-arched feet or flat feet can increase the chance of metatarsalgia. Hammer toes (where the toes are bent at the middle joint) and a bunion (bony swelling at the base of the toe) can also bring it on.
Stress Fractures in the Foot
Occasionally occurs in athletes or walkers and cause pain to come on rapidly.
If left untreated, pain can spread to other parts of the foot. Patients can also adopt an abnormal gait pattern due to the avoidance of putting pressure onto the ball of the foot. Patients tend to limp or walk on the outside of their foot. Long-term, this can have an impact on both feet, the back, the knees and the hips.
Simple measures can help to relieve the symptoms of metatarsalgia.
Resting with your feet elevated where possible.
Wearing shoes that are well fitted, low-heeled and with a wide toe area.
Painkillers such as paracetamol may help to relieve pain.
Orthotic inserts for your shoes may help to relieve pain in your foot by reducing the pressure placed on the heads of your metatarsal bones.