Metatarsalgia is the general term used to describe forefoot pain in the area of the metatarsal bones. The pain usually occurs at the ball of the foot, otherwise known as the metatarsal phalangeal joints. Examples of related forefoot conditions include bunions, Morton’s syndrome (short 1st toe), Morton’s neuroma (pinched nerve), and metatarsal fractures.

The most common symptoms associated with metatarsalgia include:

  • Tenderness and/or burning at the ball of the foot
  • Sensation of walking on a pebble
  • Sharp or shooting pain
  • Painful callous under metatarsal head(s)
  • Pain with toe-off when walking

The most common causes of metatarsalgia include:

  • Overuse caused by prolonged standing or walking
  • Intense activity
  • Foot trauma
  • Certain foot types such as high arches
  • Foot deformities
  • Diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis and other bone or joint diseases
  • Fat pad deterioration (a thinning of the protective fat pads that cushion the balls of the foot)
  • Bunions
  • Excessive weight
  • Improper fitting footwear

Pedorthic Treatment:

  • Arch supports to relieve pressure on the ball of the foot
  • custom orthotics to reduce pressure to the effected area
  • metatarsal pads or bars
  • activity modification