Understanding Foot Pain: Metatarsalgia 

Understanding Foot Pain Metatarsalgia

Are you experiencing a sharp or burning sensation in the ball of your feet or a shooting pain accompanied by numbness in your toes? This could be a sign of metatarsalgia.

It’s a condition that happens when the long bones that connect your toes and ankle, called metatarsal, become swollen. The inflammation causes sharp pain and tingling in the toes. Some people with this condition would even describe it as a similar feeling to having a pebble in their shoes.

What causes metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is common among people who frequently participate in activities like running or dancing because performing them puts stress on the ball of the foot. However, it can also happen to individuals with pre-existing deformities in their feet, like hammertoes and bunions.

Many people with diabetes also experience this because of poor blood circulation in their feet. Lastly, wearing shoes that are too tight or loose, especially when performing active physical activities, can also result in pain in the ball of your foot.

Metatarsalgia can be a really painful condition. While many can tolerate the pain and continue with their routine, some people find it hard to walk at all. And when left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain and even disability.

This is why it is very important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing foot pain to get a diagnosis and receive the necessary treatment.

How to know you have metatarsalgia

The only way to know if you have this condition or any other foot problem is to seek professional attention. A podiatrist with clinical experience is the best person to diagnose and treat painful metatarsalgia.

A physical examination and a thorough history can help specialists accurately diagnose your condition. You may also need to undergo a blood test to rule out other conditions that may have caused or triggered it. A podiatrist also uses X-rays to assess the bones and joints of your feet, and MRIs to provide more detailed images of the soft tissues.

What’s the treatment for metatarsalgia

There are simple ways you can do at home to take care of your foot when you start feeling signs of the condition. The best and simplest way is to rest your feet by avoiding activities that put stress on the ball of your foot. That means no running, jogging, or dancing in the meantime.

If you notice redness and swelling, you can apply ice to the affected area for about 20 minutes to reduce the pain and inflammation. You may as well wrap your foot with an elastic bandage to reduce the swelling and take over-the-counter pain relievers for the pain. However, be sure to go and see a doctor as soon as possible to get the appropriate treatment.

There are a number of ways specialists treat metatarsalgia. The best treatment will depend on the severity of your condition and the underlying cause.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the affected area. This may involve removing a small portion of the bone or realigning the bones in the foot to reduce pressure on the metatarsal bones.

How to maintain comfort with the condition

Definitely, any type of foot pain can affect your quality of life. To keep you moving and do the activities that you love without experiencing discomfort, custom orthotics make a great solution. Orthotics are medical devices that provide additional support and cushioning to your feet to treat your condition without the need for invasive treatments.


Remember, early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing painful metatarsalgia. With the right treatment and care, you can manage this condition and prevent it from impacting your daily life.

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