The Causes and Treatment of Metatarsal Pain
Metatarsal pain, also referred to as metatarsalgia, is a common source of pain for many people such as runners and women wearing high heels. Metatarsalgia occurs in the ball of foot and affects the bones that connect the ankle bones to those in the toes. Since the metatarsals support a person’s body weight during day to day activities such as walking, standing, running and exercising, any type of pain in this area can be annoying at best and crippling in the worst cases.
There are ways of avoiding metatarsal pain. We’ve highlighted a few below based on the most common causes:
Poorly Fitting or Uncomfortable Footwear
High heels and other shoes that restricts the foot or put more pressure on the metatarsal heads can cause this type of pain. Poorly fitting footwear may also force the ball of the foot into a small space, which in turn creates added pressure.
Joint and Foot Conditions
Some causes of metatarsal pain are caused by joint and foot conditions. Those with bunions, arthritis, and gout may notice increased pressure on the balls of their feet which can lead to pain. As is with most things in life, as a person gets older, the natural padding in their feet no longer have the same support as they did in youth.
Any sport that requires a lot of footwork or foot movement can place added pressure on the metatarsal heads as they are being used in an intense way for long periods of time.
Weight and Obesity
Those who are overweight often place a lot of pressure on the balls of their feet, as the feet and joints have a larger load to carry.
Though many people’s bone structure won’t cause metatarsal pain, those with narrow, flat or high-arched feet may place the pressure in an unusual part of the foot. If this part happens to be the metatarsal pads, metatarsal pain can occur.
Treatment of Metatarsal Pain
There are a few different ways to treat metatarsal pain and all are centered around alleviating the pressure placed upon the metatarsal pads. Treatments may include:
- Resting feet as much as possible to remove pressure.
- Applying ice to the affected area to reduce swelling and inflammation
- Changing problem footwear to an alternative that fits better, with room for movement.
- Properly designed footwear and accessories. Heelho high heel inserts are designed specifically for this purpose.
- Taking painkillers to reduce pain and swelling.
There is no need to suffer through metatarsalgia, finding the cause of the problem and seeking the correct treatment not only reduces the amount of pain suffered but it also helps to reduce the chances of long term problems.