Let’s Talk About Metatarsalgia

July 28, 2015
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What is Metatarsalgia?

The human foot is a marvel: only 26 bones, 33 joints, 30 tendons . . . and this small, complicated arrangement of bones, joints, tendon, ligaments and muscles supports the entire body. Sometimes the overwork and stress lays even such a finely-tuned instrument low. Metatarsalgia is a term that refers to pain and inflammation in the front part of your foot under the metatarsal bones, commonly called the ball of the foot. The condition is due to changes in how your foot moves, rather than a specific disease or injury. Don’t wait to see our podiatry practice until the pain spreads to your other foot or lower back, or restricts your mobility.


Metatarsalgia has more than one contributing factor, chief among which are the following:

  • High-impact activities, such as running, aerobics and tennis
  • Ill-fitting shoes that pinch the toes or have insufficient padding for the soles. High heels and worn-out athletic footwear are typical culprits
  • Certain foot shapes, such as high arches. When the second toe is longer than the big toe, uneven pressure is placed on the bottom of the foot
  • Foot deformities like bunion, clawfoot and hammertoe
  • Obesity exerts extra pressure on the metatarsals
  • Stress fractures. Even tiny breaks in the metartarsal and toe bones can alter the normal placement of your foot
  • Inflammatory conditions, e.g. gout and arthritis
  • In a recent blog, we talked about Morton’s neuroma, which is characterized by thickening of the tissue surrounding a nerve, typically felt as tingling and pain between the third and fourth toes

Diagnosis and Treatment

The symptoms of metatarsalgia, such as burning pain in the ball of your foot or a feeling that you have a pebble in your shoe, can be confused with other problems that require very different treatment. Here at Advanced Foot Care Centers, our podiatrists will give you the compassionate attention and accurate diagnosis you need. Please contact us by phone or online appointment request at one of our six locations in Tennessee (Hixson and Chattanooga) and North Georgia (Ft. Oglethorpe and Dalton). We are here to treat and protect your foot health.


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