Metatarsalgia is basically an inflammation of a joint in one of the metatarsals, the long bones that extend from your toes to the middle of the foot. This inflammation causes pain and burning in the ball of your foot. Many of our patients at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists who have this condition say it feels as if you are walking with a rock in your shoe. Other telltale signs are:
- Pain increases when you flex your toes
- Pain that is worse when you walk barefoot or walk on hard surfaces
- Pain decreases when you are at rest and have your feet up
- Skin lesions
- Tingling or numbness in the toes
These symptoms may be mild or intense and they may be constant or come and go.
One of our podiatrists, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M. will examine your foot and may order x-rays to rule out a fracture. The foot doctor will take a medical history and ask questions about your lifestyle and recent events because metatarsalgia can have many causes including:
- Foot abnormality (such as hammertoe)
- Disease (such as Rheumatoid arthritis or gout)
- Activities (high impact sports increase the risk of metatarsalgia)
- Being overweight
Since the causes are so varied, the treatment will be as well. Initially, the foot doctor will want to alleviate your pain and discomfort and so rest, icing the ball of your foot and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. Simple changes such as alternating low impact and high impact activities or adding orthotic devices to footwear may be sufficient to treat metatarsalgia. Of course, if the underlying cause is a deformity or disease, the podiatrist will need to treat that.
Whatever the cause, prompt treatment is key to correcting the problem and eliminating pain and discomfort. Get started on the road to relief by making an appointment at our Reading office without delay.