Have you started experiencing sharp pains in the ball of your foot between your arch and your toes? Is the pain worse when you are walking or doing another activity on your feet? Have you noticed a callus forming under the joint of one or more of your toes? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may have metatarsalgia.
What is it?
Metatarsalgia is a nerve disorder that occurs when one of the nerves between the metatarsal bones—the long bones that run down the middle of your foot from your toes to your ankles—becomes inflamed. Common causes of this inflammation include:
- Improperly fitted or overly rigid footwear, also high heels which force more pressure on your forefoot
- High impact, weight bearing activities such as running, basketball, tennis or football
- Foot injuries
- Excessive amounts of standing, especially on hard floors and surfaces
- Foot deformities such as hammertoes, over high arches or having one toe longer than the others
- Inflammatory diseases like gout and rheumatoid arthritis
- Being overweight
- Undetected fractures of the metatarsals
- Morton’s Neuroma
At Great Neck Family Foot Care, one of our board certified foot doctors, Alec Hochstein, D.P.M. or Diana Gagliano, D.P.M. will want to get a detailed history of your symptoms and also ask questions about your lifestyle and activities. Mostly likely, the podiatrist will order digital x-rays (which can be done right in our Great Neck office) to rule out fractures and other foot problems that can mimic the symptoms of metatarsalgia.
Fortunately, metatarsalgia is easily treated with conservative methods. Rest, icing and anti-inflammatory medications can usually relieve the symptoms. Usually changes in footwear and/or the addition of custom orthotics to shoes can correct or compensate for defects in foot structure and mechanics that are putting pressure on the ball of the foot. Losing weight will also reduce stress and pressure on the feet.
As with most foot complaints, seeking diagnosis and treatment early when symptoms first appear can prevent more serious disorders and injuries. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet, contact our office for an appointment by calling: 516-482-5999. If you are unable to travel to our office due to illness or disability, ask about arranging a house visit.