What is Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is a general term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region of the foot (more commonly referred to as the ball of the foot). This common foot disorder can affect the bones and joints at the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).
What are the causes and symptoms of metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is caused by one or more of the metatarsal heads becoming painful and/or inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. It is common to experience acute, recurrent, or chronic pain with metatarsalgia. Pain in the ball of the foot is often caused from improper fitting footwear, most frequently by women’s dress shoes and other restrictive footwear. Footwear with a narrow toe box forces the ball of the foot into a minimal amount of space, which can inhibit the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.
Other contributors to metatarsalgia include wearing high-heeled shoes or participating in high impact activities without proper footwear and/or orthotics. Also as we get older, the fat pad in our foot tends to thin out, making us much more susceptible to pain in the ball of the foot.
How do you treat and prevent metatarsalgia?
The first step in treating metatarsalgia is to determine the cause of the pain. If the culprit is improper fitting footwear, the footwear should be changed. Footwear designed with a high, wide toe box and a rocker sole is ideal for treating metatarsalgia. The high, wide toe box allows the foot to spread out while the rocker sole reduces stress on the ball of the foot.
Orthotics are designed to relieve pain in the ball of the foot by featuring a metatarsal pad to relieve pressure and redistribute weight from the painful area to more tolerant areas. Other recommended products include gel metatarsal cushions and metatarsal bandages. When these products are used with proper footwear, you should experience significant relief.
If the problem persists, consult your doctor. Your Fit Specialist at Stan’s will advise you on appropriate footwear for your condition.
Courtesy of foot.com