In layman’s term, metatarsalgia is known as pain at ball of the foot. Although the term coined might not indicate anything once you first read or hear it, it actually refers to the pain which is experienced at the ball area of the foot. This area is also known medically as the metatarsal foot region. Metatarsalgia can affect not only the ball of the foot but also the joints and the bones within that region.
Metatarsalgia is coined as a term to indicate any pain which can be experienced in the metatarsal region of the foot. Literally, the term means “pain in the metatarsal area”. The metatarsals are the long bone structures which can be found in the feet’s front part and located just underneath the toes.
The condition is often found first on the metatarsal region close to the big toe and this is referred to as the metatarsal head. Another region which can experience metatarsal pain is the second metatarsal. The pain occurs because of an abnormal length in the metatarsal bone, causing transmission of extreme pressure on the second metatarsal region.
It is very easy to observe if one is already suffering from this condition. A pain experienced at the feet’s ball area is the general and most usual symptom. The pain may come in as a sharp and burning sensation. This pain is usually felt within the toe regions and oftentimes, just near the big toe. The pain may even become sharper once you begin to stand up and take a walk. Even flexing your feet can trigger the pain.
People who are often at risk for metatarsalgia are atheletes and runners who usually participate in sports which absorb great impacts for the feet to endure. Excessive stress brought about by activities such as jumping and running can cause additional pressure for the metatarsals. If you feel foot pain and tenderness under the second metatarsal head, chances are you might have a metatarsal stress fracture or even a torn metatarsal tendon. Abnormality in foot shape can also cause metatarsalgia, thus making hereditary a risk factor as well. Stress fractures of the metatarsal is often due to overuse, so give your feet lots of rest after strenuous training.
Metatarsal Foot Pain – Causes Of Metatarsalgia And Metatarsalgia Treatment
Aside from these, there are also other simple causes leading to metatarsalgia. Wearing ill-fitted footwear is one. Even footwear which has a narrow head can induce this condition since the toes are compressed and forced within a limited space. The walking process would then become more stressful for the entire feet.
In addition, skin irritation can also cause metatarsalgia. Conditions such as bunions and calluses can trigger the illness within the joints. Foot disorders caused by accidents and arthritis can also induce the condition. Even excessive weight can become a factor. People who are obese and who have gained weight due to pregnancy tends to put additional pressure on the feet whenever they stand up or walk.
When medical treatment is sought, doctors often conduct X-rays to help pinpoint the affected area. This also helps other possible sources of pain such as fracture from stress or certain foot problems. The doctor would also do a background check by asking about food habits and activity patterns.
Treating metatarsalgia is relatively easy and can be done by the person himself. Usually, rest is the common treatment enforced. By protecting your feet from taking in stress, pain can be alleviated. If you still want to engage yourself in active conditions to exercise yourself, you can turn to less stressful forms of exercise like cycling and swimming since these do not put much pressure on your feet.
The affected area can also be treated by placing ice packs on it for about 15 to 20 minutes on a daily basis. The number of times you do this in a day will depend on your own preference. Just avoid putting ice directly on the area and wrap it first around a towel so that your skin won’t burn from too much cold.
Shock-absorbing insoles can also be placed on shoes or sandals when walking so that feet won’t feel too much pressure. These products are often made out of corks, rubber, or sometimes a gel-like substance within a rubber or plastic insole. This helps keep your feet relaxed while walking. Metatarsal pads can also be used to mitigate the pain.
You can also ask your doctor for pain relievers, which you can take in case the pain becomes unbearable. Surgical procedures are rarely done. In case of a surgery, the nerve which causes the pain is removed. Moreover, joint reshaping may also be done to modify bone structure irregularities.