What is Ball of Foot Pain?
Metatarsalgia is an umbrella term for pain in the ball of the foot. It refers to the constant pain in the metatarsals, also known as the ball of the foot. The sensation may vary from a dull ache and tenderness to a throbbing pain that hurts extremely to walk on. Some feel a burning or tingling on the ball of the foot. Others experience a sensation like they are stepping on a pebble.
Whichever type of pain and severity you may be feeling, there are simple methods that you can do to ease the pain. We will be discussing here the common causes of ball of foot pain and what you can do to treat it.
What Causes Ball of Foot Pain?
The various causes of foot pain may evoke the same sensation. So, monitoring your body and the activities you do will help in identifying what is the root cause of your pain. Some of the most common reasons are:
1. Excessive Walking, Running, or Jumping
When you walk or run for a longer duration than you usually do, your feet will feel it, too. The extra pressure and impact on the ball of your foot may cause soreness and swelling.
2. Wearing High Heels
We all know how heels can make you look amazing. However, when you wear heels for a prolonged period, your feet will probably ache. The incline of the shoe puts all of your body weight on the balls of your feet. The unnatural foot position and pressure on the metatarsals will cause pain even after just a few hours.
3. Wearing Bad Fitting Shoes
Everyone knows how devastating it is to find the perfect pair of shoes only to find out that they are not your size. You may want to tolerate squeezing your toes in the tight toe box, or the slight sliding of your foot inside the shoe when you walk just so you can wear those fantastic shoes. But, doing so will damage your foot. You may get blisters, calluses, or a hammer toe. Heed the discomfort you feel and stop wearing those ill-fitting shoes before they seriously hurt your feet.
4. Having Bunions, Calluses, or Hammer Toe
Shoes were designed to fit normal feet. So, the extra protrusions of bunions and calluses do not have room in your shoes. Those parts will be pressed on and will cause you pain. Similar to when you have hammer toes, the toe box pressing on them will be painful.
5. Having Morton’s Neuroma
Morton's neuroma is a condition where the nerves in the ball of your foot get pinched by the ligament surrounding it. This occurs when the ligament tissues get swollen from high impact or pressure. The pinched nerves send signals to your brain of a fiery sensation of pain or stepping on a pebble in the ball of your foot.
6. Having Too High or Too Flat Foot Arch
This is a physical attribute that may be contributing to pain in your feet. The arches are supposed to provide support and distribute your weight across your feet. When the arches are not in the proper curve, your feet will feel the strain.
7. Being Overweight or Obese
Gaining too much weight will put an undue amount of pressure on your feet. Even just walking will become a painful chore. Then, in turn, the inactivity will contribute to further weight gain. It will be a destructive cycle that is difficult to get out of if you don’t commit to a solution.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Ignore Ball-of-foot Pain
You might think that everything is okay as long as you prop your feet up at the end of the day. However, the constant poor foot conditions you are enduring daily may have lasting effects.
Your feet and toes may get crooked or deformed. Aside from the unsightliness of crooked toes, your feet and toes not being in the correct form will not be able to support your weight properly causing you pain in the foot.
The pain may also be caused by something more serious that needs medical attention. Some conditions may require therapy or even surgery. Ignoring the situation may lead to debilitating consequences.
Tips on How to Treat Ball of Foot Pain and How to Prevent It
1. Rest Your Feet
The fastest way to ease the pain is by resting your feet. Sit down and remove your shoes. Elevate your feet by placing them on a stool or propping them up on a cushion or pillows. This position will help get off pressure on your feet and reduce the swelling.
2. Ice It
When you have time to rest your feet, you can also ice them to hasten the treatment. Using a cold compress on your feet reduces swelling and inflammation fast. It also numbs the area for instant pain relief.
Apply an ice pack wrapped in a light towel for 10 to 15 minutes only. You may repeat the process after an hour if the pain persists.
3. Take Painkillers
If the pain has become quite unbearable, you may opt to take over-the-counter pain medication. The meds will block your pain receptors, fooling your brain into thinking that you are not experiencing pain anymore. However, this is just a band-aid solution for emergencies. It is still better to find the real reason for your foot pain and solve it.
Also, when you constantly rely on meds, your body may form a resistance to it, causing you to need higher and higher doses in the future. Use this method with caution and preferably with the guidance of a health practitioner.
4. Wear Comfortable Shoes
Since one of the common causes of foot pain is ill-fitting shoes, the opposite, which is wearing comfortable fitting shoes is the solution. Have your feet measured at the shoe store so that an attendant may help you find the perfect fit.
If, unfortunately, they do not have your size, you may bring the shoes to a shoe alteration station. These experts can modify your footwear to fit you perfectly. You may also have heels trimmed to a more comfortable height.
5. Use Shoe Inserts
A lot of shoes do not provide the right support that your foot needs. The ones that do are very expensive, and the designs are limited and might not be your style.
The equally effective but cheaper way to get suitable support is by using the ball of foot cushions. These soft gel metatarsal pads are specially designed to provide maximum support and comfort throughout the day. The ball of foot pads eases pressure and distributes your weight, saving you from forefoot pain.
There is also ball of foot cushion for high heels that are made especially for wearing high heels. Enjoy your favorite pair without the pain.
6. Do Some Stretching and Exercise
During break time, remove your shoes and stretch your feet. Rotate your ankles, flex your feet back and forth, and wiggle them side to side. This will promote proper blood flow to your feet.
7. Monitor Your Weight
Be mindful of your body. Eat healthily and exercise regularly. Your feet will thank you for it.
With proper foot care and a high-quality ball of foot gel pads, you can live pain-free every day!
If you cannot identify the reason for your foot pain, it is best to consult a podiatrist, the foot doctor, so that you may receive proper care and treatment.