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Metatarsalgia (Forefoot Pain)

Metatarsalgia is a condition that commonly affects the bones and joints in the sole of your foot. This condition is usually associated with pain on the ball of the foot (metatarsal), especially on the three middle toes.


Those who are physically active and frequently engaged in high impact activities like running and jumping have a much higher likelihood of developing metatarsalgia. Other contributing factors to metatarsalgia include ill-fitting footwear and wearing high heels for prolonged periods of time.


Patients who have been diagnosed with certain chronic medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoarthritis and diabetes may also experience metatarsalgia as part of their condition. Aside from direct causes like injuries or trauma, other factors such as age, occupation, being overweight and certain lifestyle choices also put someone at increased risk of developing metatarsalgia.

Common Symptoms


  • Pain along with burning sensation
  • Aching
  • Pain on the sole of the foot especially on the ball of the foot nearer to the toes
  • Pain increased when walking barefoot or on hard surface
  • Pain relieved by resting or sitting

Without proper management, metatarsalgia may cause pain to spread to other parts of the foot or other parts of the body such as the hip, knee and ankles. To avoid or compensate for the pain, some patients also adjust their walking patterns, resulting in limping or changes in their gait. This pain and limping may affect your lifestyle and daily activities, and the condition can further develop into more severe conditions that are irreversible.

Treatment Options
Some steps can be carried out at home for temporary management. To offer temporary pain relief and comfort, one should rest the affected foot, apply an ice pack and compression to reduce the inflammation and elevate the affected foot. Pain relief medication may be temporarily beneficial, but leaving metatarsalgia untreated will worsen the condition. To avoid metatarsalgia from progressing into a more severe biomechanical deformity, you should see a podiatrist, who will then conduct an assessment to generate a diagnosis of your condition.
At East Coast Podiatry, our podiatrists will perform a thorough biomechanical and musculoskeletal assessment of the lower limb to generate a diagnosis of your condition. When this is complete, your podiatrist will discuss your personalised treatment plan to avoid complications such as avascular necrosis and loss of flexibility.


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