Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the ball of your foot. You may also feel pain in the big toe or the three toes closest to the big toe.

  • Causes

    Metatarsalgia can be caused by a number of conditions:

    • Stress fractures
    • Bunions
    • Arthritis
    • Pinched nerves
    • Morton’s neuroma
    • Freiberg's disease

  • Definition

    Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the ball of your foot. You may also feel pain in the big toe or the three toes closest to the big toe.

    Metatarsalgia
    metatarsalgia
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist.


    Images may need to be taken of your foot. This can be done with x-ray.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting metatarsalgia, take the following steps:

    • Maintain a healthy weight.
    • Wear properly fitting shoes.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that increase your chance of developing metatarsalgia include:

    • Feet with high arches
    • Feet with abnormally long bones
    • Claw/Hammer toes
    • High-impact sports
    • Being overweight
    • Wearing shoes that don’t fit well or high heels
    • Increased age—age-related atrophy of fat pad
    • Problems with circulation
    • Gout
    • Diabetes
    Claw Toes
    claw toe
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  • Symptoms

    Symptoms of metatarsalgia include:

    • Pain in the ball of the foot
    • Numbness or tingling in toes or foot
    • Pain when walking
    • Toe pain
    • Pain with movement
    • Sharp pain
    • Feeling like you are walking on pebbles
    • Associated back or leg pain
    • Weakness in the limb

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following: