Are you noticing sharp pains in the balls of your feet? Does it feel like you perpetually have a pebble in your shoe, even though there’s nothing there? You may be experiencing metatarsalgia, a common foot ailment that causes inflammation in your metatarsal bones.

You may be wondering how that problem came about. Our expert podiatrists at North Central Texas Foot & Ankle in Decatur and Roanoke, Texas, can properly diagnose you, but in the meantime, let’s discuss the common causes of metatarsalgia.

Intense athleticism

Pain in the ball of a foot most commonly happens in athletes, though it can occur in non-athletic people. If you participate in high-impact sports, you’re at risk due to the repeated stress you’re putting on your feet. Injuries sustained while playing sports can also cause pain to develop in the ball of your foot.

You’re particularly prone to developing metatarsalgia if you’re a runner. This is because the front portion of your foot absorbs a lot of shock when running. Runners are also likely to develop stress fractures in their metatarsals, which cause pain in that area. Chances are, especially if you’re a distance runner, you’re running often. It’s important to make sure you’re running properly and give your feet time to rest between runs.

Foot deformities

Foot deformities, like hammertoe and bunions, are quite a common cause for metatarsalgia. These issues change the way pressure is distributed throughout your foot when you walk, causing the front portion of your foot to incur more stress. As a result, you may gradually develop pain in the ball of your foot. Tight toe extensors, tight Achilles tendon, or weak toe flexors may also lead to metatarsalgia.

Foot shapes

Having a high arch directs more pressure to your metatarsals, which can lead to inflammation and pain over time. Similarly, having a second toe that extends further out than your big toe changes the way you distribute weight onto your foot, shifting more weight onto your second metatarsal. Discussing your options for insoles with your podiatrist may aid in taking some of the pressure off of your metatarsals and relieving the pain felt in the ball of your foot.

Morton’s neuroma

This condition sounds scary, but it’s noncancerous and very treatable. Morton’s neuroma is the thickening of excess tissue surrounding a nerve that typically develops between your third and fourth metatarsal heads. In addition to pain, Morton’s neuroma can also cause a burning sensation or numbness.

Being overweight

Your feet are employed with the task of holding up your body and all of its weight. Therefore, the more you weigh, the more pressure is being put on your feet. As you move, most of your weight is being shifted through the front portions of your feet, and your metatarsals feel it. Maintaining a healthy weight will help prevent excess pressure from landing on your forefoot.

Ill-fitting shoes

Shoes can be a major culprit behind metatarsalgia. Wearing high heels puts a lot of pressure on your metatarsals. High heels often come with narrow toe boxes as well, adding to the pressure on your forefoot. Switching to shorter heels can help relieve your symptoms.

Shoes that are too tight or too loose can cause pain to develop as well. If your shoes are too tight, you’re squeezing your feet and putting additional stress on them. On the other hand, if your shoes are too loose, you can be changing the way you walk and the way weight and pressure are distributed throughout your foot. It’s important to wear shoes that fit your feet well and have good support.

Don’t wait until your foot pain becomes unbearable. Once you start feeling discomfort, come into one of our offices and get checked out by Samantha Childers, DPM or Ricky Childers, DPM. Treatment for your foot pain is right around the corner! Give us a call or request an appointment online today.

Dec 9th, 2020

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