Metatarsalgia is the medical term for painful metatarsals, commonly described as central forefoot or ball-of-foot pain, and is really more of a symptom than a diagnosis. Metatarsalgia as a diagnosis is a generalized method to state where pain is originating, but provides no information about the cause or source of the condition.
Metatarsalgia can be thought of as an “umbrella” term for many conditions including (but not limited to) capsulitis, bursitis, compressive neuritis, interdigital neuroma, stress fractures, hammertoes, arthritis, sesamoiditis, plantar plate tear, callus, plantar keratosis, ligament sprains and muscle/tendon strains.
Metatarsalgia pain tends to develop gradually over time. It may be felt in a localized area in the ball of the foot, or across the whole width of it. Metatarsalgia tends to be worse when you’re standing, walking or running. The pain of metatarsalgia is sometimes described as:
- Burning, aching, shooting pain
- Tingling or numbness in the toes
- Sensation of stranding on a small stone or bunched sock
Depending on the more specific diagnosis, metatarsalgia can respond well to conservative, non-surgical treatments. Best treated in its early stages to help improve your affected joint’s stability, reduce your pain and other symptoms, and resolve the root cause of your problem. Common treatment strategies for this health problem include:
- Giving your feet sufficient rest
- Taping or splinting
- Performing toe extensor stretches
- Use of metatarsal pads
- Correct Toes to increase volume and space between the toes
- Wear naturally shaped footwear
Metatarsalgia Relief Products
- Metatarsal Pads – By redistributing weight and reducing pressure on the forefoot, metatarsal pads alleviate pain and reduce irritation of the metatarsal area.
- Toe Spacers – Toe spacers help by creating space between the toes, which reduces compression and relieves pressure on the affected nerves, providing relief from pain and discomfort.
- Wide-toe Box Shoes – Wide toe box shoes allow proper foot alignment, with ample space for the toes to spread out, it helps reduces compression and pressure.
Conservative Care Techniques for Metatarsalgia
Giving your feet sufficient rest
Use of metatarsal pads
Use of toe spacers
Performing toe extensor stretches