If you’re active in any sports that require running or jumping and the bottom of your foot begins to hurt, you may be experiencing metatarsalgia pain.
While foot pain can be a number of things, let’s narrow down some of the symptoms to see if this ailment could be the cause of your discomfort.
What Is It?
Your metatarsalgia centers under the five bones at the bases of the toes, the metatarsals. These are the bones that connect the toes to the ankles. So when you experience pain or inflammation at the bottom of your foot, this could be the cause.
What Does it Feel Like?
If the ball of your foot is inflamed, you may experience:
- A sharp pain in the ball of your foot
- Pain that worsens when you stand, run, or walk
- Sharp, shooting pain in the toes
- Tingling in the toes
- The feeling that there is a rock in your shoe
Metatarsalgia doesn’t come on suddenly, but usually ver a period of of several months.
What Causes It?
This condition isn’t usually caused by one factor but rather by a combination of several factors.
- Intense training
- A high arch
- Poor-fitting shoes
- High heels
- Incorrect running form
- Being overweight
- Stress fractures
- Stiff ankle
There are other causes as well, including certain foot deformities like Morton’s neuroma. This is a growth of fibrous tissue around one of the nerves between the metatarsal heads.
How Do I Treat It?
It’s not a serious condition but it can get you off your feet for a little while so if you’re active, it’s good to know how to treat it.
Often, the best treatment for this condition is simply rest. But you can also:
- Apply ice several times a day
- Use over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to reduce inflammation
- Keep your feet up when resting
- In severe cases, doctors may recommend steroid shots
Letting this pain go untreated can lead to complications. If you try to compensate for the pain by changing your gait to keep moving, the pain can spread and complicate the condition. The most important thing to do if you’re experiencing pain is to take it easy.
What to stay active while still relieving pressure from the foot? Try swimming.
Can I Prevent Metatarsalgia Pain?
Preventing this type of pain requires leading a healthy lifestyle and making sure you’re wearing the proper shoes. Since being overweight can cause excessive pressure and lead to metatarsalgia pain, maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your feet pain-free. This is especialIy important since diabetes can also contribute to this condition by irritating the small nerves in the foot.
It’s also important to wear the right shoes when working out and using insoles that will reallocate pressure and add much needed support to any athletic shoe. You should also avoid wearing high heels more than you have to and be sure to wear the right shoe for the right sport. Using good walking and running form is also important.