Posts for tag: metatarsalgia
What are the signs of metatarsalgia?
You could be dealing with metatarsalgia if,
- You have foot pain that is exacerbated by standing, walking, or flexing your foot
- Foot pain gets better with rest
- You have a sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot
- There is a sharp or shooting pain in the toes
- Your toes tingle or feel numb
- You feel as if you have a stone in your shoe
What causes this foot problem?
Certain factors can certainly increase your risk of developing metatarsalgia. These risk factors include,
- Experiencing stress fractures in the toes
- Wearing high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box
- Being overweight or obese
- Having certain foot deformities such as bunions or hammertoes
- High arches
- Intense or endurance exercises such as long-distance running
You can ease metatarsalgia pain and discomfort on your own through simple lifestyle changes including,
- Avoiding certain activities and exercises that make the pain worse (e.g., running)
- Wearing properly fitted and fully supportive shoes
- Avoiding high heels or shoes that are too tight
- Placing shoe inserts or padding under the metatarsal bones for further support
- Icing the area multiple times a day
- Taking a pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medication
Metatarsalgia denotes a common foot condition characterized by pain and inflammation of the joints and bones of the ball of the foot - the area just before the toes, also called the metatarsal region.
Symptoms of metatarsalgia can develop suddenly, especially after an increase in exercise or high-impact activities, but normally the problems develop over time. Common symptoms of metatarsalgia include:
- Sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot - the part of the sole just behind the toes
- Pain that intensifies when you stand, walk or run
- Pain that radiates from the balls of the feet into the toes
- Numbness or tingling in the toes
- A feeling in your feet as if you are walking with a pebble in your shoe
- Pain that increases when walking barefoot
Sometimes a single factor can trigger metatarsalgia. More often, multiple factors contribute to the pain, including:
- Over-training or Over-activity. Extensive training and high-impact sports, especially running, places an abnormal amount of stress on the balls of the feet, causing irritation, inflammation and pain.
- Other foot disorders. High arches, hammertoes, bunions, stress fractures and Morton's neuroma can all trigger metatarsalgia symptoms.
- Poor-fitting footwear. High heels, narrow-toed shoes and shoes without adequate padding can all contribute to metatarsal problems.
- Excess weight. Extra weight places excess pressure on your metatarsals.
- Aging. The fat pads on the metatarsals thin out as a person ages, diminishing the ability of the metatarsal bones to protect themselves.
Although generally not serious, metatarsalgia can disrupt your day to day activities, and when left untreated can lead to additional pain in your unaffected foot, back or hips. Treatment to eliminate metatarsalgia symptoms can be as simple as resting, icing the affected area and wearing proper-fitting shoes to significantly reduce swelling and ease pain.
When conservative treatments aren't effective and pain persists, visit our practice for a full exam and a proper diagnosis. In most cases, metatarsalgia can be treated non-surgically. An experienced podiatrist may prescribe specially-designed orthotics or shock-absorbing insoles and arch supports to prevent and minimize future problems with metatarsalgia.
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.