Symptoms of sharp pain in the balls of your feet are signs of a medical condition known as Metatarsalgia, and it involves inflammation to the nerves adjoining the metatarsal bones. Metatarsalgia is a common occurrence among runners, basketball players, tennis players, and other athletes involved in high-impact sports. It is also frequent among women who wear high-heel shoes for long periods at a time.
Common Symptoms of Metatarsalgia
People afflicted by metatarsalgia often feel intense pain in one or both of the balls of their feet, the area right behind the toes The footache can be acute, burning, or dull, and is most often felt near the big toe, though it can also occur under the middle toes. These are the most recurrent symptoms accompanying ball of foot pain:
- Lack of sensation or tingling of the toes
- The pain intensifies when walking barefoot, especially on hard surfaces.
- The pain aggravates when dorsiflexing the feet.
- An acute pain in the toe area
- The ache worsens when you run, walk, or stand, and gets better after resting.
- You feel as if walking on rocks
Causes of Metatarsalgia
The metatarsal bones take the brunt of our weight when pushing-off while running or jumping, which can be the equivalent to several times your body weight. Among the frequent causes of ball of foot pain are intense physical activities, irregular foot anatomy, being overweight, poorly fitting shoes, and frequent wearing of high-heel shoes.
If the symptoms of ball of foot pain are not treated in a timely manner, this condition has the potential to deteriorate to more critical disorders such as loss of range of motion, ligament injuries, toe problems, and chronic stiffness. In extreme cases, necrosis can develop and collapse the entire bone structure.
Treatment for Metatarsal Foot Pain
Relieving ball-of foot pain in most cases does not require extreme measures. The most recommended treatments for ball of foot pain are:
- Get plenty of rest - Avoid stressing your feet by getting some rest. In short time you may practice low-impact activities such as cycling, swimming, or rowing.
- Apply Ice - Use ice packs on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Wear proper footwear - Shoes need to fit properly and be of the suitable for the type of activity that you plan to get involved in.
- Wear orthotics – The use of suitable orthotic shoe insoles can provide the needed sustainment to reduce pressure on the metatarsal area.
Using orthotics is a vital component of of most treatments for ball of foot pain. Using metatarsal pads can also help to reduce the pressure around the metatarsal area.
Most of the cases concerning ball of foot pain do not require medical attention. It is common for our feet to be sore after a long day of standing or intense physical activity. Seek medical attention if the pain or burning sensation if the ball of foot pain does not improve after modifying your activities and wearing orthotics.
Having metatarsal pain can be an unpleasant experience, but by taking the proper care of your feet with the treatment options recommended above you can return to your normal activities in a short amount of time.