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Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)

Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)You may have experienced pain in the ball of your foot and wondered if it’s even treatable. It is, and your NYC podiatrist can help you with pain relief for this issue, as well as other foot-related conditions. A simple checkup with a highly experiences podiatry doctor Dr. Jennifer McCoy may be all it takes to relieve your discomfort; there’s no reason to suffer if you don’t have to.

The scientific name for “ball of foot pain” is metatarsalgia. It refers to pain in the ball of your foot between the foot arch and your toes. As you walk, weight transfers from the heel of your foot to the ball. If your weight isn’t properly aligned over the ball of each foot during the transfer of weight, it can create swelling and pain in that area.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

You typically experience metatarsalgia from shoes that don’t fit right or from activities that create shock or trauma (such as increased stress) on your foot — activities like jumping, running or pivoting. A ball of foot issue is sometimes referred to as a “stone bruise,” because it feels as if you have a stone in your shoe all the time.

People who experience chronic ball of foot pain often develop painful calluses in underlying layers of the skin. When you age, you typically lose the padding of fat underneath the ball area of your foot, causing additional pressure to the area. The most common sufferers of ball of foot pain are people who wear shoes with unusually high arches or those who carry excess weight.

Consult a podiatry doctor if you have chronic ball of foot pain — before it gets worse. The following conditions may worsen metatarsalgia pain:

  • Arthritis: Along with other joint conditions and diseases, arthritis can affect the metatarsal joints in the ball of your foot.
  • Diabetes: A nerve-related condition called diabetic neuropathy can create foot pain.
  • Skin lesions: Lesions and severe calluses can press on the metatarsals, creating ball of foot pain.
  • Neuromas: Basically enlarged nerves, neuromas may increase your pain level when they’re in an affected area of the metarsals.
  • Injury: Stress fractures and other injuries to your metatarsal bones add to ball of foot pain.

Causes of Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)

If you’re uncertain of the cause of your ball of foot pain, a podiatry doctor can help you determine the cause. Of course, if you can pinpoint the painful area more precisely, that helps your Manhattan podiatrist a lot. It may help if you learn about the metatarsal region of your foot.

Place your finger on top of any of your toes and glide it downward, tracing along the bone to the middle of your foot. Once you pass your phalange (toe bone), you reach a bone called the metatarsal. One metatarsal bone is attached to each of the five toe cones. These metatarsal bones distribute your weight, helping you to stand, walk, run and maintain proper balance.

Additional causes of ball of foot pain:

  • Bone abnormalities: Caused by genetic predisposition, injury or diseases like arthritis, a bone abnormality often includes an unusually long metatarsal bone.
  • Flat feet: This condition places extra pressure across your metatarsals.
  • High arches: This is another condition that places pressure on your metatarsals.
  • Hammer toes: A condition that affects the distribution of weight across your feet, hammer toe is where your toes are permanently bent downward, usually as a result of footwear pressure.

Self-Diagnosis for Ball of Feet Pain

Identifying ball of foot pain may be difficult since it doesn’t always hurt in one localized spot. Before you visit a podiatrist in Manhattan , ask yourself the following questions to better determine your foot condition. If you’re experiencing pain, make sure to tell NYC foot doctor as much as you can.

  • Is your pain focused on one area or does it spread out across your foot?
  • If the pain isn’t localized, does it radiate throughout the width or length of your entire foot?
  • Do you feel the pain down to your toes or up your leg?
  • What’s the nature of your pain? Is it dull and aching? Burning? Or sharp and shooting?
  • Are any of your metatarsal bones inflamed? Does your foot feel swollen?
  • Is it more painful when you walk around barefoot?
  • Can you feel pain when you transfer weight to your afflicted foot?
  • Is it more painful to stand on your toes?
  • Can you feel it when you run or jump?
  • Does it feel like you’re walking on a sharp stone or pebble?

Ball of foot pain generally occurs near the inside of your foot between the first and second toe bones, but it can spread. It can feel sharp or dull, and you can experience the pain in any number of situations. So if you answered yes to any of the above questions, you have core symptoms of ball of foot pain. Contact your local Manhattan podiatrist for a complete diagnosis.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Metatarsalgia Treatment Options

A good podiatry doctor in NYC can offer several non-surgical treatment options worth exploring. These treatments are best to try first, as surgery can impact your mobility for up to 12 months. And as a rule, surgery is never the first option.

There are some simple home remedies you can try to ease your ball of foot pain. The goal is to stretch your Achilles tendon or strengthen your foot muscles to decrease the ball of foot pain by reducing the pressure on your feet and specifically forefeet areas. Try these treatments:

  • Reduce strenuous activity: Stop doing the activities that put too much weight on your feet — such as jumping, running, jogging, hiking and rock climbing.
  • Metatarsal supports: Use a foot support — such as properly fitting footwear, arch supports, metatarsal pads, orthotics (artificial devices like splints and braces), and shoe insoles and inserts that are shock-absorbing.
  • Anti-inflammatories: Take anti-inflammatory medication like naproxen or ibuprofen, but talk to your podiatrist Manhattan before you begin any new medication.
  • High-heel shoes: Put them away for six months (or longer) to give your feet time to heal.
  • Cold therapy: Icing your foot when it’s inflamed or sore can help. Consult a podiatric doctor in NYC for the duration, but typically, ice your foot up to 15 minutes at a time.

In the event that these non-surgical treatments fail to resolve your ball and foot pain, or if it continues to worsen, consult your Manhattan podiatric doctor or foot specialist about the possibility of metatarsalgia surgery. Surgery might be the only way to address ball of foot pain or correct abnormalities creating the discomfort. In the most extreme cases, a podiatric doctor may recommend an exostectomy, during which part of your foot bone is removed.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult foot doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified podiatrist or foot specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Do you have any questions about Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia) prevention or treatment? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, top NYC Podiatrist and foot doctor, Dr. Jennifer McCoy of Manhattan Foot Specialists, please contact our office for consultation.

Manhattan Foot Specialists
Dr. Jennifer McCoy, Podiatrist (NYC Foot Doctor)

51 East 25th Street, Ste 409
New York, NY 10010

(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
(212) 687-2930

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class podiatrist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.