What It Mean When The Balls of Your Feet Hurt and What to Do!

Foot Pain On the Ball of the Foot (Metatarsalgia).

Covid 19 has lead to people walking around barefoot more often. Underlying foot injuries when walking barefooted can worsen the severity of the condition. 

Metatarsalgia 

What is it?  Now there are different types of of conditions categorized as metatarsalgia. 

The main sign and symptom pain at the end of one or more of the metatarsal bones. Those are the bones located near or on the balls of your feet!

  • The pain is typically worse  when you walk or run.
  • You may feel tingling or numbness in your toes. 
  • Athletes who take part in high-impact activities and also have an inflammatory condition like bursitis often have more widespread pain in the ball and middle of the foot.
  • The pain can be sharp, a dull ache, or a burning feeling.
  • You may feel like you’re stepping on a pebble.

Most often, the pain comes on gradually, opposed to all of the sudden. 

Metatarsalgia Causes

This is an overuse problem where, for some reason, there is a lot of load on one focal point on the forefoot. Such activities that pound the metatarsals  like, running, sprinting, plyometrics, jumping , skipping or dancing, result in impact forces leading to pain in the forefoot. Or you may have a predisposition to this injury due to your current anatomy such as:

  • Weak foot intrinsic (muscles)
  • Hammertoes
  • Hypermobile first foot bone
  • Tight calf muscles 
  • A short first metatarsal bone or a long second metatarsal bone 
  • Tight muscles that extend your toes, placing more downward pressure on the balls of the feet. 

Other things that can cause metatarsalgia include:

  • Pronation issues
  • Being overweight
  • Stress fractures in your toes or metatarsals
  • Bunions 
  • Torn ligaments in your feet
  • Tight calf muscles

Morton’s Neuroma is also a condition that is under the metatarsalgia term. This is when the nerve has extra tissue growth around it. It is usually located in the area between third and fourth toes, but can also happen in other web spaces of the feet. People with webbed toes also experience an increased likelihood of this issue. People may say it feels like they are stepping on a pebble or a stone. 

Medical Treatment

To relieve metatarsalgia pain, your downtown Toronto Foot Chiropodist or Foot Doctor may have you

  • Rest the foot. 
  • Orthotics with metatarsal support. Orthotics help control abnormal movement of the foot, as over pronation was mentioned as one the causes of the injury,  and also help with protecting those painful areas of the feet. 
  • Icing the foot 
  • Use compression bandaging
  • Wear cushioned pads, arch supports or other orthotics in your shoes.
  • Do gentle stretching and strengthening exercises.
  • Sometimes callusing can cause pain the foot, so having the callous removed, that can help
  • Sometimes surgery may be required or steroid injections to the area. 

Recovery 

I, Chiropodist Laura Desjardins, suggests If you are an athlete you may want to cross train or do activities that does not require pounding on the feet. 

Gradual return to activity is also recommended. One way to prevent this injury is to wear proper footwear, or orthotics if needed during high impact activity, stretch and strengthen your feet as well as keeping the hips strong. 

If you have any other questions or concerns with your foot pain, our Chiropodist, Laura Desjardins, would be happy to help you!