A common cause of pain in the ball of the foot is a condition known as metatarsalgia. This occurs when the joints of the metatarsals—those bones at the end of your toes heading toward your arch—become inflamed or damaged. Besides pain, other symptoms of metatarsalgia include aching or a burning sensation in the ball of the foot as well as numbness or tingling in the toes. For most of the patients that we at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM treat with this disorder, the symptoms come on gradually but they can develop suddenly as well.
Who is Prone to Metatarsalgia?
The inflammation of metatarsalgia can have a number of different starting points:
- Sports—patients who participate in high-impact activities on a regular basis, such as basketball, running, football, etc. where the ball of the foot is subject to repeated pounding are more likely to get metatarsalgia
- Footwear—women who wear high heels frequently, people whose job requires them to wear stiff-soled work boots and people who wear shoes that fit poorly all cause excess pressure to be placed on the forefoot
- Deformities—hammertoes, bunions, high arches, claw toes, can all lead to metatarsalgia
- Fractures and other injuries
- Carrying excess weight
Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, will conduct a complete examination of your feet and toes and also get a medical history from you. X-rays may also be requested to help rule out or confirm certain foot issues. Once the diagnosis of metatarsalgia is made and the cause determined, the foot doctor will tell you how to treat it.
Most of the time, metatarsalgia can be treated with simple, non-invasive measures:
- Resting the foot
- Icing the affected area
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
The podiatrist may also recommend padding or special insoles to help absorb shock to the foot. Depending on the shape of your foot, arch supports or other orthotic devices may be suggested.
If you want to learn more about metatarsalgia or have other medical concerns about your feet and ankles, contact our Somers Point office by calling (609) 927-4894.