Metatarsalgia is a condition in which the ball of your foot becomes painful and inflamed. You might develop it if you participate in activities that involve running and jumping. There are other causes as well, including foot deformities and shoes that are too tight or too loose.
Symptoms of metatarsalgia may include:
- Sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot — the part of the sole just behind your toes
- Pain that worsens when you stand, run, flex your feet or walk — especially barefoot on a hard surface — and improves when you rest
- Sharp or shooting pain, numbness, or tingling in your toes
- A feeling of having a pebble in your shoe
Almost anyone can develop metatarsalgia, but you're at higher risk if you:
- Participate in high-impact sports that involve running and jumping
- Wear high heels, shoes that don't fit properly or shoes with a narrow toe box.
- Are overweight or obese
- Have other foot problems, including hammertoe and calluses on the bottom of your feet
- Have inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout
Metatarsalgia is usually easily treated without surgery. Your doctor may recommend that you use a metatarsal pad, or a custom insole to offload the painful part of your foot. Athletic shoes or rocker soled shoes may be recommended. Other helpful tips include:
• Picking shoes with good soles, a wide toe box and a lower heel
• Avoiding walking barefoot
• Soaking and using pumice stone on your feet to help remove calluses.