Pain on the Ball of the Feet

Do you suffer from pain located on or near the ball/ balls of the feet? This term is a generic name for metatarsalgia, which has many different forms of manifestation.  It can be localized to the smaller area or it can be located under the big toe. Typically those who use their feet a lot in their jobs, commute often or athletes can be susceptible to this. The balls of the feet are actually the anatomical metatarsal heads. They can have many different symptoms including sensations of bruising, tenderness, aching , burning and even electric sensation .

Common causes for metatarsalgia include improper footwear, overuse , poorly fitting footwear,  or sudden impact injuries . Improper footwear, such as high heels, can cause strain or injury to the ligaments around the joint . This can lead to pain and swelling . Overuse is from repetitive wear and tear can result in the forefoot arch flattening or potentially stress fractures. Sudden impact injuries can lead to sprains around the joint .

Although there are different conditions of metatarsalgia causing this pain, the treatment options are quite similar. Treatment typically is comprised of assessing the nature of the injury, cause and a treatment plan . Initially reduction in overall impact is recommended, although most activities can still be performed with support added to the forefoot in footwear. Padding can be used short term to help support the foot while rehabilitating the foot.

One thing to note is that material comprised of these pads can lead to friction as the material absorbs sweat and may cause chaffing.  That is why an orthotic with a pad embedded into the device is better to prevent blistering, increase compliance and comfort, especially in runners . I highly recommend strengthening the foot and mobility exercises to help restore function. I always advice against flexible footwear that leads to excessive bending on the forefoot in ligament joint injury conditions. I also like to combine treatment with modalities to help speed up the healing process . The modality I like to use is shockwave for foot conditions .

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