Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain in the forefoot—or ball of foot—the area between your arch and toes. The five metatarsal bones transect the midsection of your foot, connecting your ankle bone to your toes. Also known as ball of foot pain or a stone bruise, the area under your toes can be a common source of pain because it supports your weight when standing, walking, or running.

Metatarsalgia is characterized by a painful inflammation that flares up in the ball-of-foot area between your toes and arch. The pain can manifest as a tingling or numbness, a sharp shooting or burning pain, or as if you’re walking with a small pebble in your shoe (that’s where the name “stone bruise” comes from). You may feel pain in a small area under your toes, or it could radiate across the whole width of the foot. Symptoms often begin gradually and get worse over time, and one or both feet may be affected.

Pain can increase just from simply flexing your feet, standing on your feet for long periods of time, or walking—especially if you walk barefoot on hardwood floors or cement pavement. High-impact exercise that include running or jumping can also make the pain worse. Pain may decrease when you rest or soak your feet.

Staying off your feet, wearing footwear that puts less stress on your feet, and/or adding padding and arch support inside your shoes will relieve ball of foot pain. If you are a runner or do other high-impact sports or exercise routines, consider taking a break for a few days or weeks. Try low-impact activities like swimming or cycling until your pain subsides.

If you have questions about Metatarsalgia or would like to schedule an appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our medical professionals today!

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