About Metatarsalgia (Pain in the Ball of the Foot)



Metatarsalgia is the Latin name (and medical term) used to indicate pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. It’s a very common condition that may occur for a variety of reasons but generally it is related to the style of shoe being worn or inferior functioning of the feet.
In order to pursue appropriate treatment the cause of the pain will have to be determined.

Symptoms: Typical symptoms include a sharp and/or burning pain in the ball of the foot that may be most acute around the second, third, or fourth toes. In some cases calluses may begin to form at these pressure points as well, and many people feel that there is a pebble or lump in their shoe or sock when walking.

Causes: Footwear is one of the most causes of metatarsalgia; wearing high heels is one of the most common causes of this condition. When ball of the foot pain occurs when regular footwear is worn it is generally due to over-pronation.

Treatment: One of the most effective treatments for metatarsalgia—aside from changing shoes—is the use of special dr foot insoles to support and/or re-align the metatarsal bones.

High Heels and Ball of the Foot Pain

When you examine the structure of high heel shoes it’s little wonder that they cause so many problems for the feet; the elevated heel forces the weight of the body forward, and a large amount of weight must be supported by a relatively small area of the body.

Metatarsalgia often develops because of excessive pressure being placed on both the metarsal bones of the foot as well as the surrounding tissues, especially when high heels are used for walking in for an extended period time. This type of shoe structure also causes pain in the area of the Achilles tendon in the back of the heel, which often develops in tandem with tight calf muscles. The Achilles tendon may become tender to the touch and a callus may develop in the ball of the foot; pain often occurs while walking or running, especially during the ‘pushing off’ phase of each step.

Because the feet are one of the most complex areas of the body excessive pressure on the ball of the foot will affect the functioning of the entire foot, and aside from having pain in the metatarsal region high heels often cause problems in the arch and heel as well.

If both the metatarsals of the foot and the Achilles tendon are adversely affected by this type of shoe the entire foot may develop an uncomfortable burning pain and/or shooting pains and inflammation. It often happens that the pain develops gradually over time. It should not be ignored however, as foot pain often becomes chronic and cause serious secondary issues (such as ruptured tendons) to occur.

Wearing high heels forces approximately 80% of a person’s body weight to push into the front of the foot, which freezes the foot into a flexed position for long periods of time and which can eventually cause the surrounding ligaments to become weak and unsupportive. Excessive friction often occurs due to this pressure, aggravating the skin on the underside of the foot, which can cause calluses to develop.

Treatment for Foot Pain Caused by High Heels

Despite the painful consequences of wearing high heel shoes the majority of women are not willing to give up fashion for foot health. Fortunately, there are solutions for this type of discomfort. One of the surest ways to improve foot comfort is to use an insert such as the Dr Foot High Heel Comfort insole, which corrects biomechanical imbalances by providing superior support to arches and metatarsal bones of the feet.

These particular insoles ensure an even distribution of bodyweight throughout the entire foot, which relieves the excessive pressure that would otherwise be forced onto the forefoot alone. Dr Foot insoles significantly reduce the amount of pain and the unpleasant sensations usually associated with wearing high heels, even while standing or walking for long periods of time. In fact, when wearing Dr Foot insoles women often report that they feel as though they are wearing a low heeled shoe or flat shoes rather than high heels.

Dr Foot insoles were created by podiatrists in the UK and are sold across Europe, North America and Australia.

View Dr Foot Insoles to treat Ball of Foot Pain

Normal Shoes and Ball of the Foot Pain

Although most cases of metatarsalgia are related to wearing of high heels it’s entirely possible to develop foot pain while wearing normal, flat shoes, and men can develop this type of pain just as easily as women can.

The reasons for this type of metatarsalgia are varied, and may occur due to intense physical activities such as running, though it may also occur after walking or standing for long periods of time, especially if stiff and/or unsupportive footwear is being worn. This makes police officers, military personnel, farmers, and teachers more susceptible to developing this type of pain. Obesity, and even being somewhat overweight, is also common causes as this places even more pressure on the feet.

The most likely culprit outside of wearing high heels, however, is a biomechanical problem of the feet called over-pronation, which is often frequently referred as excessive pronation. Although pronation of the feet is entirely natural, problems occur when the inward rolling of the ankles is too deep or lasts for too long a time, which interferes with rest of the walking/mobility process.

Our feet are complex; they’re made up of 26 bones and are mobilized by a complex web of muscle tissue and ligaments. The arch of the foot is actually the product of 2 separate arches: the longitudinal arch that runs the length of the foot from heel to toe, and the transverse arch, which runs horizontally across the foot.

In the middle of all of this are five metatarsal bones that begin in the middle of the foot and end in the toes. When over-pronation occurs the longitudinal arch collapses to an excessive degree and the ankle joint rolls inward, uncontrolled, with every foot strike. This places excessive pressure on the metatarsal bones, which can then lead to a collapse of the transverse arch. All of this rolling and collapsing can weaken the structure of the forefoot, and it also frequently causes pain and inflammation to develop in the joints of the metatarsal bones.



Treatment for Ball of the Foot Pain in Normal Shoes

In the early stages of treatment for ball of the foot pain walking and standing for long periods of time should be kept to a minimum as much as possible. Supportive shoes should be worn at all times and going barefoot should be avoided. Cold therapy will also help to reduce pain levels and inflammation. If calluses have already developed care should be taken in removing them, either through home remedies (such as foot soaking and calluses) or through a professional treatment.

Additionally, shoe insoles are an extremely effective way to protect, support, and cushion the foot, but more importantly they will also correct biomechanical functioning of the feet and minimize the degree to which the foot (or feet) can over-pronate.

Dr Foot insoles provide exceptional support to the arches of the feet; they also re-align the feet and ankles and thereby reduce over-pronation and the resulting pain. By minimizing over-pronation Dr Foot insoles dramatically reduce the amount of pressure placed on the ball of the foot, thereby relieving the inflammation and discomfort caused by metatarsalgia.

View Insoles to treat Ball of Foot Pain

Care should be taken when purchasing insoles—most insoles found at the pharmacy or department stores do not provide metatarsal support and are therefore neither appropriate nor effective when treating metatarsalgia.

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