.what? Metatarsalgia. This is the medical name for pain in the ball of the foot. The term literally means pain on the metatarsal" (there are 5 metatarsal bones in the forefoot). Metatarsalgia is not really a diagnosis, but rather a symptom, however, many doctors will call your condition by this term.
The pain that is experienced in metatarsalgia typically occurs in the ball of the foot (at the base of the second or third toes under the second or third metatarsal heads). It is often described as walking on stones or pebbles" or on a rolled up sock" in the front of the foot. The pain is often a deep ache and it is worse with walking on hard surfaces barefooted. It is also sometimes accompanied by a burning feeling extending into the tips of the second and third toes.
Common Causes of Metatarsalgia:
- Activities like jogging that put repeated stress on the ball of the foot (This condition is commonly seen in runners and may be a result of improperly fitted footwear.)
- Intense training or overuse (repetitive motion)
- Ligament injuries and joint irritation from injury
- Neuroma, a painful mass of nerve tissue
- Abnormal foot shape
- Calluses that affect weight distribution
- Improperly fitted shoes (shoes that are too small)
- High heels
Most of the time, with a proper diagnosis, rest and patience compliance with the non-surgical recommendations - metatarsalgia can start improving within a few weeks.
Dr. Jeffrey S. Hurless
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com