Pain in the ball of the foot

What is the pain in your foot?

Pain in your foot can result from many different things but today we are going to concentrate on common causes and symptoms of pain in the ball of your foot. If you would like to learn more about other areas of your feet then please take a look at the other articles on our website.

To get to the bottom of the cause of your ball of foot pain, we must first get to know more about the ball of your foot. The ball of your foot is also called your metatarsal, you have one at the top of every toe, much like the knuckles in your hands. The metatarsals help us out in many different ways, they help us run, walk and stand by perfectly distributing our weight evenly and keeping us balanced.

When you have pain in the ball of your foot, this can cause you other difficulties later on. Because your metatarsals help with balance, if you are favouring one foot or one side of your foot over another, this could lead to problems like back and knee pain if your metatarsal problem isn’t sorted quickly.

The possible causes for ball of foot pain

There are many possible causes for the pain you have in the ball of your foot and it would be quite hard to go into details about all of them. Instead, here is a brief overview of all of the most common causes.

Flat feet or high arches can cause the ball of foot pain. Either one of these can cause an abnormal amount of pressure across your metatarsals.

Hammertoes affect the way your foot distributes weight.

Stress fractures will cause pain in the ball of your foot, this may affect you if you stand all day or exercise a lot.

Bone abnormalities, like arthritis or other injuries, will cause pain in your metatarsal region. One of the more common abnormalities is a longer metatarsal bone than usual.

The fatty tissue in your foot’s pad becoming thin or shifting. We all have fatty pads of tissue in the bottom of our feet, it helps us absorb impact but it can wear out as you get older and this can cause pain in places in your foot.

Other common causes of a ball of foot pain include; obesity, diabetes, calluses and neuromas.

The treatment

In some extreme cases of a ball of foot pain, you may need to have surgery, however, as the recovery time from this surgery is 6-12 months, non-surgical methods are usually tried first. There are many different forms of non-surgical treatment that can help with your pain, a few of these are:

Using metatarsal supports including; arch supports, orthotics, shock absorbing shoe insoles and metatarsal pads.
Using cold therapy (ice packs applied to the area)
Stretching your Achilles’ tendon and strengthening your foot muscles, these help to release the pressure your foot is under.
Avoiding any strenuous exercise
Avoiding wearing high-heeled shoes

If you have pain in the ball of your foot then we recommend going to see a foot specialist. They will be able to help you get back on your feet a lot quicker by helping you find the underlying problem that is causing you pain and help you find the right treatment.

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