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What’s the Meta with your foot? Metatarsalgia?

Meta…. what? Metatarsalgia? What in the world does this word that’s hard to pronounce mean? Well, it’s the medical term for “Pain in the ball of the foot.” Literally, it refers to pain in one or more metatarsal bones in the forefoot (There are 5) Metatarsalgia is a symptom vs. a diagnosis however many Podiatrists will lump most forefoot conditions into this basket. There is metatarsalgia treatment available, but it’s important to see the causes of it.

The pain that is experienced with metatarsalgia typically may occur in a small area of the ball of the foot or across the entire width of it. One or both feet may be affected. The pain incurred with metatarsalgia is sometimes described as:

  • A burning or aching sensation
  • A shooting pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the toes
  • A feeling like there’s a small rock stuck under the foot

Common Causes of Metatarsalgia:

Metatarsalgia is usually the result of increased pressure on the ball of the foot. Some common causes are:

  • Activities like jogging that put repeated stress on the ball of the foot (This condition is commonly seen in runners and may be a result of improperly fitted footwear.)
  • Intense training or overuse (repetitive motion)
  • Ligament injuries and joint irritation from injury
  • Neuroma, a painful mass of nerve tissue
  • Abnormal foot shape
  • Calluses that affect weight distribution
  • Improperly fitted shoes (shoes that are too small)
  • High heels

Conservative/non-operative Metatarsalgia treatment options are often successful once diagnosed. The goal of non-operative Metatarsalgia treatment would include:

  • Addressing the underlying cause of the symptom
  • Diminishing the repetitive loading through the forefoot and trying to disperse the loading on the forefoot over a wider area. 

The options above usually include one or a combination of several options below:

  • Orthotics with designed to offload pressures and provide support
  • Supportive Metatarsalgia shoes
  • Activity modification
  • Stretching (Namely the calves and lower leg muscles)

As with any painful foot condition, if conservative treatment options don’t resolve the problem, you should see a Podiatrist or Physician trained in foot conditions. Most of the time, though, you can start to see improvements in your feet with proper non-operative Metatarsalgia treatment within a few weeks.

If you have metatarsalgia or any other foot condition, please give Solelytics a call. I am trained to help people in your situation through proper orthotic selection and fabrication and most importantly, through proper footwear selection. During our appointment I’ll provide you with a comprehensive foot assessment as well as a shoe analysis/recommendations and we’ll discuss the options available to you to assist in overcoming your painful foot condition. And remember, I’m mobile. Foot care has never been more convenient!

Bryan Acheson, CPed – (303) 981-3999 – [email protected]

Serving Colonial Heights, Chester, Hopewell, Petersburg, Chesterfield, Midlothian & the entire Richmond Metro Area

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