Before we can understand what is the best treatment for metatarsalgia, we must first of all we need to understand what metatarsalgia actually is. Metatarsalgia is actually not a specific diagnosis but a term that is used to describe any condition that causes pain in the ball of the foot. If you are suffering from metatarsalgia you may have pain like walking on pebbles or a more diffuse vague pain across the whole ball of the foot.
What can cause metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia can be caused by many different specific conditions such as joint capsulitis, Morton’s neuroma and plantar plate tears. These conditions can cause various symptoms in the ball of your foot. Being overweight, wearing high heeled or thin soled shoes or being in a job where you do a lot of standing will increase your chances of developing metatarsalgia. There are also some common mechanical causes of this group of conditions. For example, having a bunion, hammer toe or tight calf muscles will increase the pressure on the ball of your foot and increase your likelihood of developing a problem.
What can I try at home?
If you develop pain in the ball of your foot then you can try these simple tips at home. First of all, avoid any activities that aggravate your pain and try and replace them with activities you can do pain free. Avoid walking in your bare feet and try wearing a shoe that doesn’t bend too easily. Avoid wearing high heeled shoes and shoes with either hard or thin soles. If your calf muscles are tight, try stretching them twice a day. This will help to reduce the pressure on the ball of your foot. If your foot seems swollen then using ice packs or use anti-inflammatory gel.
When should I see a Podiatrist?
If you have metatarsalgia and have tried the tips above and your pain persists, or the pain is limiting your activity, book an appointment with your local musculoskeletal Podiatrist.
What can a Podiatrist do?
At your appointment we will fully assess the problem and explain the mechanical factors contributing to your metatarsalgia. Where the diagnosis is not clear, we may arrange for some imaging such as an x-ray, ultrasound or an MRI scan. In most cases a good clinical history and thorough examination is sufficient to offer a clear diagnosis. When the diagnosis has been made an individualised treatment plan will be agreed with you. This may include the use of orthotics to offload the painful area, exercises, footwear modification or steroid injections. Where conservative measures fail or aren’t appropriate we can arrange for you to be seen by a specialist orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon. However, conservative measures are normally very successful at resolving pain associated with metatarsalgia.
If you have pain in the ball of your foot and would like to book an appointment with one of our specialist Podiatrists, you can do so by clicking HERE.