What is Metatarsalgia?

Chances are, unless you have it, you’ve never heard of metatarsalgia, but it’s a condition we’ve treated many times at Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle. The metatarsal bones in your feet are the ones that start at your toes and run down the middle of your foot, all the way to the ankle. There are nerves in between the metatarsals and when one of them becomes inflamed, the condition known as metatarsalgia results.

If you have suddenly started experiencing pain in the ball of your foot or anywhere in the upper foot area between your arch and your toes, metatarsalgia may be the cause. Oftentimes with this disorder, the pain will be worse when you are barefoot or participating in an activity that requires you to be on your feet and moving. You may also notice a callus forming in the area where the pain is.

What’s Causing It?

Basically, metatarsalgia is brought on by either too much pressure or uneven pressure being exerted on the metatarsals. There are several reasons why this might happen, including:

  • Starting a sport or exercise that puts pressure on your feet, such as running or basketball
  • An injury to the foot
  • Arthritis
  • Foot deformities
  • Standing for long periods of time on hard surfaces
  • Rigid or poorly fitting footwear
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Aging
  • Weight gain

Treatment Options

There are other conditions besides metatarsalgia that have very similar symptoms so the first step will be to rule out other causes and confirm a diagnosis. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. A. Bil Buksh will conduct a complete examination of your foot and also get detailed information about your symptoms, your work and lifestyle. A digital x-ray may be ordered (which can be done in either our Edmond or Norman office) to rule out a fracture or other foot problem.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the foot doctor will try to find the cause of the metatarsalgia because that will be a determining factor in the treatment. Some common approaches include: rest, icing and anti-inflammatory medication to deal with the pain and inflammation and then modifications to activities, changes to footwear or the addition of orthotics and weight loss.

If you’ve started experiencing symptoms of metatarsalgia, don’t delay, schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located Oklahoma City area offices by calling (405) 285-7408.