Metatarsalgia: Signs, Causes, Prognosis, Remedy




What Is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a standard overuse harm. The time period describes ache and irritation within the ball of your foot. It’s typically regarded as a symptom of different situations, slightly than as a particular illness.

Metatarsalgia Signs

The primary symptom of metatarsalgia is ache on the finish of a number of of the metatarsal bones. These are the bones within the ball of your foot, closest to your toes. 

  • The ache could be sharp, a boring ache, or a burning feeling.

  • You could really feel such as you’re stepping on a pebble.

  • The ache is usually worse  once you stroll or run.

  • You could really feel tingling or numbness in your toes

  • Athletes who participate in high-impact actions and still have an inflammatory situation like bursitis typically have extra widespread ache within the ball and center of the foot. 

Most frequently, the ache comes on over a interval of a number of months, slightly than immediately.

Metatarsalgia Causes

The ache of metatarsalgia comes from an excessive amount of strain on one spot in your foot. It typically outcomes from the pounding your ft take throughout high-impact sports activities. Or you’ll have one thing uncommon about your bones or muscle tissues that impacts the best way strain is distributed in your ft, equivalent to: 

  • A brief first metatarsal bone or a protracted second metatarsal bone 

  • Distinguished metatarsal heads

  • Tight toe extensors (muscle tissues)

  • Weak toe flexors (muscle tissues)

  • Hammertoe deformity

  • Hypermobile first foot bone

  • Tight Achilles tendon

Different issues that may trigger metatarsalgia embrace:

  • Extreme pronation (side-to-side motion of the foot when strolling or operating)

  • Sneakers that don’t match effectively  

  • Being obese

  • Stress fractures in your toes or metatarsals

  • Bunions 

  • Torn ligaments in your ft

A situation often called Morton’s neuroma (interdigital neuroma) additionally causes metatarsalgia-like signs. Additional tissue builds up round a nerve, often between your third and fourth toes. The irritated, infected nerve causes ache.  Morton’s neuroma also can trigger toe numbness along with ache in your forefoot.

Metatarsalgia Danger Elements

Within the U.S., forefoot accidents, together with metatarsalgia, are widespread in athletes who take part in high-impact sports activities. Actions that contain operating or leaping are most frequently guilty. Whereas observe and discipline runners are most in danger, different athletes, together with tennis, soccer, baseball, and soccer gamers, typically get forefoot accidents.

Different components that elevate your odds of metatarsal ache embrace:

  • Having a excessive arch

  • Sporting excessive heels

  • Sure sicknesses that trigger joint irritation, like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout

  • Age. The fats pad that cushions the ball of your foot will get thinner over time

Metatarsalgia Prognosis

X-rays could assist your physician rule out different causes of forefoot ache. A bone scan can pinpoint locations of irritation.

Ultrasound can assist determine situations equivalent to bursitis or Morton’s neuroma that trigger ache within the metatarsal space.

The physician may ask for an MRI to search for causes of ache in your metatarsal and midfoot areas. These can embrace traumatic problems, circulatory situations, arthritis, neuroarthropathies, and situations that trigger biomechanical imbalance.

The physician may do different checks and procedures to assist make a analysis and work out the correct remedy.

Metatarsalgia Remedy

There are a number of choices in the case of treating metatarsalgia.

Medical Remedy

To alleviate metatarsalgia ache, the physician could have you ever:

  • Keep off your ft. Keep away from excessive affect actions for some time and prop up your injured foot when you may.

  • Ice the injured foot. Strive rolling it over a frozen water bottle.

  • Use a strain bandage.

  • Put on cushioned pads, arch helps or different orthotics in your sneakers.

  • Do light stretching and strengthening workouts.

In case you have a callus on the underside of your foot the place you’re feeling ache, the physician could scrape it all the way down to take off some strain.

You could want surgical procedure to repair issues along with your bones or launch a pinched nerve. 


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, equivalent to ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), can relieve ache within the quick time period.

If a pinched nerve is the reason for your ache, the physician could attempt a nerve block together with long-acting steroids. 


As soon as the ache is gone, you may enhance stretching and strengthening workouts and step by step get again to regular exercise.  Strive a low-impact sort of train at first, like swimming.

Metatarsalgia Problems

Metatarsalgia can result in different issues in the event you don’t deal with it. You’re more likely to change the best way you stroll to take strain off the painful spot in your foot. That may trigger ache elsewhere in your foot or in your different foot, and all the best way to your decrease again or hips. You’ll be able to even develop a hammertoe.

Metatarsalgia Outlook

Most individuals get better from metatarsalgia with remedy. However it’s worthwhile to perceive what prompted it in your case and take steps to maintain it from coming again.


Metatarsalgia Re-injury Prevention

Taking excellent care of your ft can assist you keep away from one other bout with metatarsalgia.

  • Get sneakers that match appropriately. In the event you run lots, get new sneakers typically. 

  • Don’t put on excessive heels.

  • Use pads, arch helps or different orthotics your physician recommends.

  • Hold calluses from build up. You’ll be able to soak your ft and gently rub the realm with a pumice stone.

  • Get to a wholesome weight.

  • Improve the quantity and depth of athletic exercise step by step.

  • At all times stretch and heat up earlier than you train.

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