Metatarsalgia is a foot condition wherein a patient experiences pai caused by inflammation in the ball of the foot. People who are physically active, particularly in activities involving running and jumping, may experience metatarsalgia. The condition can also develop from wearing ill-fitting shoes as well as other causes.
Origin of Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is the name given to foot pain occurring in the front part of one’s foot under the heads of the metatarsal bones. It can be caused by a number of reasons but is not a specific disease by itself but rather symptoms of other foot problems.
While metatarsalgia is usually not serious, it can prevent you from following your usual routine. The good news is that conservative treatments can help with metatarsalgia such as rest and application of ice. Wearing appropriate shoes and orthotic insoles or arch supports that provide adequate shock absorption will prevent problems with metatarsalgia.
Most common symptoms of Metatarsalgia are:
- Sharp foot pain or burning sensation in the ball of the foot or the part behind the toes
- Sore foot around the second, third , fourth toes or the big toe
- Worsening foot pain when standing, walking or running that improves during rest
- Shooting foot pain in the toes
- Tingling sensation or numbness of the toes
- Pain in the foot experienced when flexing the feet
- Pain in the foot experienced when walking with bare feet
These symptoms can develop over a short period of time especially if an individual increases the amount of running and other high impact exercises. In some cases, though, the symptoms develop over a long period of time.
While not all foot problems require medical attention, sore foot that persists longer than a few days should be consulted. It is normal for the feet to ache after prolonged standing or after a rigorous workout. If burning foot pain persists in the ball of the foot, the best thing to do is to see a general practitioner.
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Small exercices to treat metatarsalgia
The initial treatment for metatarsalgia involves regular application of ice and pressure bandage. RICE therapy (rest, icing, compression, and elevation) is recommended. For 24 hours, it is also advisable to avoid putting weight on the foot during movement. Even during the early phases, metatarsal pads and other foot orthotics devices can give relief from sore feet and discomfort.
Arch supports worn together with shoes providing good support have been proven as effective treatment for Metatarsalgia.
A general practitioner usually listens to symptoms experienced by the patient along with an examination of the foot. An X-ray exam may also be recommended along with blood tests to rule out arthritis, gout and diabetes. A bone scan be suggested if stress fracture is suspected.
Some types of Metatarsalgia cannot be prevented but in most cases, simple measures can be taken to avoid this condition.
- Wear shoes that fit well and have a wide toe area. This prevents some causes of Metatarsalgia such as Morton’s Neuroma.
- When performing high impact sports activities, wear good fitting footwear with adequate support and impact absorption.
- If overweight, try to lose weight.
- For diabetic patients, manage your diabetes to prevent development of foot conditions.