What is Metetarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is really a general term used for pain on the top or the ball of the foot. It’s a condition associated with several different foot conditions, and has a number of different causes, including obesity, pregnancy, flat feet and poorly fitting footwear.

Causes of Metatarsalgia

Common causes of metatarsalgia include:

  • Poorly fitting footwear , including high-heeled shoes, shoes that are too narrow and also thin-soled shoes.
  • Diseases such as diabetes that cause thinning of the fatty padding at the ball of the feet.
  • Injury, stress fracture, arthritis, callus formation and Morton’s Neuroma (see above).
  • Sometimes metatarsalgia occurs for no apparent reason.

A thorough examination is usually required to determine the exact cause of metatarsalgia.

Treatment of Metatarsalgia

Options vary, depending in the cause of the condition. Treatment can include reduction of any callus formation, prescription orthotics, shock absorbing insoles, rest, advice on properly fitting shoes, or weight reduction. In some cases, surgery may be required.

How to Prevent Metatarsalgia

As with most conditions, prevention of metatarsalgia is best achieved by avoiding the conditions that can bring it about. If, for example, you often wear high heels or tight fitting shoes, you should opt for (or alternate with) more comfortable footwear.

If you’re overweight, you should try and reduce a little (this can have many other health benefits, too!), and those who have medical conditions such as diabetes and arthritis should seek treatment.