Metatarsalgia - forefoot pain
Metatarsalgia is the name given to pain in the front part of your foot under the heads of your metatarsal bones – the ball of the foot. It is not a specific disease itself rather a symptom of other problems with the foot. It is most common in middle aged females.
Quite simply the primary symptom is pain usually made worse when standing, walking or running .It usually comes on gradually rather than suddenly. Some have described the pain as akin to walking bare foot on pebbles.
Metatarsalgia can be caused by a number of different conditions:
- Overuse – runners may put extra stress on the metatarsal bones
- Having a stiff ankle or Achilles tendon – can affect the way that pressure is distributed around the foot leading to extra stress on the metatarsal heads
- Morton’s neuroma – a fibrous growth of the nerves that run between the metatarsal bones which can cause pain in the metatarsal region.
- Claw foot(pes cavus) – a very high arch foot which does not flatten when you plant your foot .Most people with pes cavus also have a neurological condition such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida or polio. Extra stress is placed on the ball of the foot.
- Shortened 1st Metatarsal- this can cause more weight to be distributed on the 2nd metatarsal head.
- Hammer Toe or claw toe deformity – again extra stress is put on the ball of the foot
- Diabetes – can cause damage to the nerves in the feet
Foot orthotics for shoes/trainers will help to relieve pain in the foot by reducing the pressure placed on the metatarsal heads, will improve foot function and protect the ball of the foot.