What is Metatarsalgia?
The most common source of Ball of Foot pain is metatarsalgia. The term is derived from the medical term metatarsals (long bones of the foot) and algos (the Greek word meaning pain).
Causes of Metatarsalgia
The causes of metatarsalgia pain can be attributed to a number of factors, from bone abnormalities to systemic diseases such as diabetes.
The most common cause is an alteration of the posture in the long bones (metatarsals) of the foot. These bones absorb the weight during walking, and if one of the bones falls down through weakness or lack of support, is abnormally long or fractured from stress, it will create dysfunction among all bones.
Other causes include:
- An enlarged metatarsal head.
- Arthritis or any degenerative disease of the joints.
- Systemic conditions such as diabetes, which can cause nerve-type pain in the foot.
- Calluses or skin lesions that cause the weight on the foot to be unevenly distributed.
- Ageing, which tends to thin out or shift the fatty tissue of the foot pad.
- Sports that place tremendous pounding on the ball of the foot, like jogging.
- Ill-fitting shoes that put pressure on the bones of the feet.
- Shoes with small toe boxes that cramp your toes.
Symptoms of Metatarsalgia
The main symptom of metatarsalgia is pain in the ball of the foot, and is most pronounced when walking (especially on your toes) or engaging in sports. Since the foot supports the body in all its activities, chronic pain in the ball of the foot impacts the ability to perform ordinary tasks.
Discomfort when wearing shoes and socks.
Pain during activities where an impact is applied to the foot, such as running.
Relief and Prevention of Metatarsalgia
Footwear Orthotics or Metatarsalgia Accessories
- Metatarsal domes or pads that help separate the foot bones and relieve pressure on the metatarsals.
- Supportive foot arch orthotics and insoles to prevent the abnormal collapsing of the arch.
Corrective Metatarsalgia Exercises
Boyner Clinic have designed a dynamic corrective foot posture exercises that they have been prescribing and fine tuning over the past decade. The aim of these exercises is to actually correct the dynamic muscle control of your foot. Ideally, if we can help you to retrain your own foot muscles then hopefully you won’t need to wear shoes with orthotics to passively solve your problem.
Our foot muscles are designed to work effectively. It is common for these muscles to simply weaken and become lazy. The good news is that most foot muscle weakness can be retrained successfully within weeks.