• 925 Clifton Ave, Ste. 107 Clifton, NJ 07013

Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)

While running is an exceptional way to stay fit and keep your weight under control, it carries with it a host of dangers, not the least of which is developing pain in the balls of your feet. The continuous pounding on your feet, especially if you consistently run on hard surfaces, causes inflammation that, left untreated, can seriously impact your mobility and quality of life. Treatment often involves simple lifestyle changes, but you need to get a firm diagnosis before trying any at-home pain-relieving remedies for ball-of-foot pain. Visit podiatry practice Clifton, just 30 minutes from New York City, before your discomfort turns to immobilizing pain.

Pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot is called metatarsalgia. This is the area of the foot between your toes and the arch. When you’re experiencing pain in this area of your foot, simple activities such as walking or standing can be very uncomfortable, even causing you to limp. High-impact exercises cause excruciating foot pain, making physical activity impossible.

Metatarsalgia is a common problem among athletes, often triggered by overuse from running and jumping, but not only athletes suffer from this condition. Certain footwear or foot deformities can also lead to ball of foot pain. Metatarsalgia treatment options are available at Premier Podiatry in Clinton, New Jersey.

Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

Pain in the ball of the foot is the main symptom of metatarsalgia. The pain may be sharp, burning or aching. The other symptoms you may experience include:

  • Worsening pain when you run, walk, stand or flex your toes
  • Numbness or tingling in your toes
  • Feeling like you have a pebble in your shoe

Your symptoms may develop over time or come on quickly. The pain you experience may be mild to severe, but it’s likely to improve when you rest. If these symptoms reflect what you’re feeling, consult with foot doctors in Clifton, NJ.

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Causes of Ball of Foot Pain

The pain of metatarsalgia is triggered when one metatarsal bone rubs against another and a small nerve is caught between them. That nerves fires pain signals back to your brain whenever the bones squeeze it, which happens more often the more active you are. Factors that can cause this to happen include:

  • High impact sports or exercises. Sports or activities such as distance running or jogging cause the front of the foot to absorb significant force with each footfall. Over time, the inflammation becomes chronic.
  • Poorly fitting shoes. Athletic shoes that lack padding or support, high heels and tight shoes with a narrow toe box can all contribute to foot pain, toe pain and pain in the ball of your foot. Untreated, this discomfort can cause mobility problems.
  • Foot abnormalities or deformities. Hammer toes, bunions or high arches can add pressure to the front of your foot, contributing to the development of metatarsalgia. Additionally, if you have a child born with ill-formed feet, visit your pediatric podiatrist at Premier Podiatry to avoid a lifetime of pain and poor walking habits.
  • Excess weight. When you’re overweight, the extra pounds you’re carrying cause more pressure on the front of the foot as you walk. This situation can lead to pain and inflammation in your feet.

Athletes and others who have any of these conditions are at increased risk of developing metatarsalgia. Other health problems also contribute to its development. Some of these include Morton’s neuroma, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and osteoarthritis.

Metatarsalgia Treatment

Dr. Petkov, your qualified foot doctor NJ, diagnoses the cause of your discomfort and provides ball of foot pain relief through a number of treatment modalities. He examines your foot and watches how you walk. He may order a digital x-ray to rule out a stress fracture or take bloodwork to see if you have gout. He may order additional tests to check for arthritis or other soft tissue problems, such as bursitis.

Ball of foot pain treatment starts conservatively, with elevating the foot when possible and avoiding activities that worsen the pain. Ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, reduces the pain and inflammation. Using supportive shoes, orthotics, metatarsal pads or arch supports also relieve stress and improve your foot function. When these methods aren’t effective, your doctor may recommend a steroid injection to reduce your symptoms. In rare cases, you may need a minimally invasive surgical procedure.

Getting Ball of Foot Pain Treatment

If you’re feeling ongoing ball of foot pain symptoms, you can’t just ignore it. The pain often won’t let you, and it’s unhealthy to load up on any type of pain medication. When you don’t have the condition treated, other problems can develop, such as hammer toes or a limp. The pain can spread, too, to your hips or your back as you try to compensate by shifting your weight away from the ball of your foot.

Contact Premier Podiatry in Passaic County today. Under the care of Dr. Petkov, DVM, you can obtain an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for metatarsalgia — and any other foot problems you may be experiencing. Under his expert care, you can be on your way to ball of foot pain relief with clear instructions for how to avoid further instances of pain in the ball of your foot.

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