What is Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia literally means "metatarsal pain" and is a
general term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal region
of the foot. The metatarsal region is the area just before the toes, more
commonly referred to as the ball of the foot.
Metatarsalgia is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints at the ball of the foot. Pain is often located under the second, third and fourth metatarsal heads, or it can be more isolated at the first metatarsal head, near the big toe.
It is common to experience acute, recurrent, or chronic pain
with metatarsalgia. One or more of the metatarsal heads become painful and/or
inflamed, usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time.
Pain in the ball of the foot is often caused from improper fitting footwear, instigated most frequently by women's dress shoes or other restrictive footwear.
Footwear with a narrow toe box or toe area forces the ball-of-foot area to be forced into a minimal amount of space. This can inhibit the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot.
Participating in high impact activities without proper footwear and/or orthotics can lead to metatarsal pain.
The fat pad in the foot also tends to thin out with age, making many much more susceptible to pain in the ball of the foot.
Prevention and Treatment
Determining the cause of the pain is the first step to
correctly treating this condition.
If improper fitting footwear is the cause of the pain, the
footwear must be changed. Footwear designed with a high, wide toe area and a
rocker sole is ideal for treating metatarsalgia. The high, wide toe box allows
the foot to spread out while the rocker sole reduces stress on the ball of the
Unloading pressure to the ball of the foot can be accomplished with a variety of foot care products. Orthotics designed to relieve ball-of-foot pain usually feature a metatarsal pad. The orthotic is constructed with the pad placed behind the ball of the foot to relieve pressure and redistribute weight from the painful area to more tolerant areas. Other products that can provide relief include gel metatarsal cushions and metatarsal bandages. When these products are used with proper footwear, you should experience significant relief.
Call 800.447.0151 or email us to know more about which PAL products are best for metatarsalgia!