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Complete Information about Metatarsalgia

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

What Is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a medical condition wherein the person experiences pain in the balls of his feet. The pain is basically in the metatarsal region of the foot, which happens to be the region or area between the toes & the foot arch. The pain is usually worse while walking/standing/running for lengthier periods of time. The word “Metatarsalgia” comes from the Greek words “meta” (meaning “beyond”) and “tarsus” (meaning “ankle joint”).

What Are the Causes of Metatarsalgia?

The condition is often caused by repetitive stress or injury to the metatarsal region. It can also be caused by conditions that cause inflammation, such as arthritis. Metatarsalgia can also be caused by a deformity in the foot, such as a bunion. So, there are several possible causes of Metatarsalgia, including:

  • Wearing high heels, ill-fitting, or tight shoes. This can put extra pressure on the balls of your feet.

  • Standing/walking for lengthier time durations.

  • Having a high body mass index (BMI). This means you are overweight or obese.

  • Standing on feet for lengthier time durations at the workplace.

  • Having a foot that is not properly aligned. This can happen if you have a high arch or a flat foot.

  • Having a bone spur. This is a small, sharp outgrowth of bone.

  • Having arthritis.

  • Having an injury to the ball of your foot.

  • Having a foot injury or condition such as bunions, hammer toe, or Morton’s neuroma

What Are the Symptoms of Metatarsalgia?

The symptoms can vary from person to person. The most common symptom is pain in the balls of the feet, which is often worse with activity. The pain may also be worse when wearing shoes that do not fit well or when standing for long periods of time. The pain may be accompanied by swelling, redness, or warmth in the affected area. Other symptoms of Metatarsalgia may include the following:

  • Swelling in the metatarsal area

  • Numbness in the metatarsal region

  • Tingling in the metatarsal region

  • Burning sensation in the balls of the feet

Diagnosing Metatarsalgia

The treating doctor is most likely to ask the patient about his symptoms as well as his medical history. After that, physical examination of the feet would be performed. Imaging tests, such as x-rays or MRI, may also be ordered for diagnosing the condition and for ruling out other conditions.

Treating Metatarsalgia

Treatment options for Metatarsalgia may include:

  • Resting the feet

  • Wearing shoes with good arch support

  • Using arch supports or inserts

  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers

  • Applying ice to the affected area

  • Undergoing physical therapy

  • Getting Corticosteroid injections (in severe cases)

  • Surgery (in more severe cases)

Contact 1Health Medical Center for Metatarsalgia

At 1Health Medical Center, we understand the pain and discomfort that Metatarsalgia can cause, and provide multiple treatment options to help the patients find relief.


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