What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a term used to describe pain in the ball of the foot, an area that plays a crucial role in our balance and mobility. This discomfort can arise from various underlying issues such as joint overload, inflammation of the capsule surrounding a joint (capsulitis), nerve growths (neuroma), cracks in bones due to repetitive stress (stress fractures), abnormalities in toe shape (toe deformities), and injuries to the soft tissues.

The condition might target just one or span multiple joints within the foot, impacting one’s ability to walk and perform activities comfortably.
What Causes Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia stems from various factors that exert additional pressure on the front part of the foot. This discomfort can be traced back to structural deformities such as bunions, arthritis in the big toe, hammer or claw toes. These conditions may lead to irritation or force the metatarsal bones closer to the ground, intensifying the pain.

Symptoms associated with metatarsalgia include:

  • A sharp, burning sensation in the ball of the foot.
  • Pain that escalates during activities like standing, walking, flexing the feet, or running, especially on hard surfaces, and diminishes with rest.
  • Sharp or shooting pain, along with numbness or tingling in the toes.
  • A persistent feeling as if there’s a pebble in your shoe, causing discomfort.
What are the Treatment Options for Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia can be addressed through both non-surgical and surgical interventions.

Non-surgical options include rest, supportive footwear, metatarsal pads, and orthotics. If conservative measures fail or if metatarsalgia is complicated by other foot conditions, surgical realignment of the bones may be necessary.

Surgical treatment involves accessing the metatarsal bones through an incision on the top of the foot, shortening the bones if needed, and securing them with a screw.

Your podiatric surgeon can provide personalized advice on the best treatment approach during your consultation.