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When the ball of your foot is inflamed and painful, you may have a condition called metatarsalgia. Those who participate in activities that involve jumping or running are more likely to develop this foot condition. It can also be caused by foot deformities or by ill-fitting footwear.

Metatarsalgia is usually not a serious condition, but it can make walking a challenge. Treatment for this condition begins with staying off your feet and putting ice on the affected area. This is often enough to relieve the symptoms. Metatarsalgia can be prevented or minimized by wearing footwear that has shock-absorbing insoles or arch supports. You may also try:

  • Wearing shoes that fit well and limit wearing high-heels
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication when necessary
  • Using arch supports
  • Using metatarsal pads to ease the stress

Surgery for metatarsalgia is usually not necessary, but when it is complicated by other foot conditions like hammertoe, your doctor may recommend surgery to realign the metatarsal bones.

It is important to get an accurate diagnosis for this condition. Metatarsalgia symptoms are similar to other problems with the foot. Your doctor will need to do a thorough examination of your foot to accurately determine the source of your foot pain.

Neglecting to get treatment can lead to more complications. The pain caused by metatarsalgia can cause you to change your gait and begin limping. This can create more pain in your foot as you try to compensate. The change in the way you walk can also affect your lower back or hip and your other foot.

Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

You may feel a sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot. The pain caused by this condition may intensify when you stand, flex your feet, walk or run. Going barefoot on a hard surface will make the pain worse. The sensation of having a pebble in your shoe is another common symptom of metatarsalgia. You may feel pain in your toes as well. It can be sharp or shooting pain or you may have numbness or tingling sensations in your toes.

Resting your feet often relieves the symptoms. If the pain continues for several days, you should seek medical attention. If you feel a burning sensation in the ball of your foot and it does not subside after your make changes in your activity level and shoes, you need to talk to a doctor.

Dr. Stuart Mogul is known worldwide for his expertise in foot and ankle surgery. As one of New York City’s premier foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Mogul provides patients with exceptional care and treatment. If you want the best, contact our office and schedule your appointment today.

Patient Testimonials

Fabulous person and doctor. Very professional manner, skilled, knowledgeable and personable... what more can you ask for in your Doctor?! Her performed my surgery and I was confident then as I am now through my recovery.

- Samantha W.

Second surgery with dr mogul. Once in 2013 and one now (bunion surgery on different feet). Great doctor, friendly staff, personally checks in on you after surgery. Highly recommend. Hoping my right foot is as pain free as my left one was.

- Priya P.

Fabulous person and doctor. Very professional manner, skilled, knowledgeable and personable... what more can you ask for in your Doctor?! Her performed my surgery and I was confident then as I am now through my recovery.

- Samantha W.