About MetatarsalgiaMetatarsalgia (pronounced “met-ah-tar-SAL-jah”) is a condition that causes pain and swelling in the ball of your foot. Although it’s commonly linked to high-impact sports, it can happen to anyone.
What Causes Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is caused by extended pressure on the sole of your foot. Sports that include running and jumping are the most common causes of this condition, especially track and field, football, basketball, and soccer.
Athletes aren’t the only ones at risk. You can also develop it if you:
• Were born with a high arch
• Regularly wear high heels
• Are overweight
• Have bunions
• Have weak foot ligaments
What Are the Symptoms of Metatarsalgia?
If you have this condition, you may experience:
• Aching or burning in the ball of your foot
• Pain when you flex your foot
• Sharp pain when walking barefoot
• A feeling like there is a stone in your shoe
Is it Morton’s Neuroma?
The condition known as Morton’s neuroma or Morton’s toe (interdigital neuroma) can also cause symptoms like these. Morton’s is a buildup of excess tissue around a nerve that normally affects the third or fourth toes. People with Morton’s report burning pain and the feeling that they have stones or pebbles in their shoes.
Many foot conditions have the same symptoms. The only way to know for sure what you have is with a proper diagnosis. If you’re experiencing foot pain, make an appointment with a podiatrist to find out what you have.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Metatarsalgia
Any ongoing discomfort is a good reason to visit your foot care professional. Your podiatrist will use x-rays, bone scans, or ultrasound to determine what’s causing your pain.
If you don’t have the typical risk factors for this condition, your doctor may look for foot deformities or other conditions that cause a biomechanical imbalance in your foot.
Treatment for metatarsalgia includes resting the foot and protecting it from further damage. It may take about three weeks to experience complete healing. Your podiatrist may recommend that you:
• Stay off the injured foot
• Wear a pressure bandage
• Use cushioned pads or custom orthotics
• Do gentle stretching exercises
• Take over-the-counter pain medications
Will You Need Surgery for Metatarsalgia?
Surgery is only necessary if regular treatments do not work. Your podiatrist may decide you need surgery to remove a pinched nerve. In most cases, however, you’ll get relief from less invasive treatments. Learn more in our e-book Natural Solutions to Common Foot Problems for natural ways to treat Metatarsalgia and other great natural solutions.
Good Foot Health Is for Everyone
At The Organic Foot, we offer advanced diagnostics and the latest treatment methods, including plaster-based custom-fitted orthotics. If you’re suffering from any kind of foot pain, contact us.
Proper Foot Alignment Results in a Balanced Body
Foot alignment is something we don’t think about that often, but it’s integral to healthy feet and joints. Your foot alignment affects your posture, balance, functional strength, and gait. Misaligned feet can cause foot problems such as calluses, plantar fasciitis and bunions, and joint pain in the knees, hips, and back.
In her book, “Natural Solutions to Common Foot Problems,” Dr. Dawn Figlo cites foot alignment as a physical health pillar. Fortunately, there are ways to improve foot alignment and get your whole body in balance.
Are your feet in alignment?
Ask yourself these questions: Do you find yourself rolling your feet in or out while standing? Do you feel off-balance or experience falls?
When the foot is pronating and supinating, it is out of its neutral alignment. Pronation is when the foot rolls inward, and supination is when the foot rolls outward. Both indicated misalignment of the foot.
Here are some ways to check your alignment
1- Look at your footprint. Wet your feet and stand on a dry surface like cement to see what parts of your feet touch the ground.
2- Look at the wear patterns of your shoes. In pronation, you will see more wear on the inside and supination on the outside. Normal gait goes from heel strike (outer heel) and transfers to toe-off (the big toe joint).
3-perform this exercise:
- Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Inhale, lift your heels until your toes are pointed on the floor.
- Exhale, and lower your heels slowly.
While you’re doing this, check for the following:
- When you lift your heels, do they stay hidden behind your toes?
- Do your ankles line up over your toes or wobble?
- Did your heels stay hidden when you lowered your feet?
- Do your knees stay straight or wobble when you lift your feet up and down?
When you lift your heels up and down, they should stay in line with your foot.
Here are a few ways to improve your alignment.
Strengthen your feet with 3-Position heel Raise
This exercise stabilizes your ankle muscles, which regulate your leg bones. Keep looking at your feet to make sure they stay straight.
- Stand with your feet placed together and your back straight.
- Lift yourself on your toes ten times.
- Stand in the same position, but point your toes outward, so your feet form a V-shape.
- Lift yourself up 10 times.
- Turn your toes away from your body and repeat the exercise 10 times.
Custom insoles (orthotics)
A podiatrist will make a mold of your foot while holding your foot in (subtalar joint) neutral to achieve your proper alignment. An insole created from the mold customizes your everyday shoes and keeps your foot aligned. Custom orthotics are also very beneficial for athletes while performing sports.
Static Back Stretch
This exercise lengthens your spine muscles and helps rotate your pelvic girdle into a straighter position. You will need a yoga block or a stack of pillows. It’s essential to do this on a firm surface.
- Place the block or pillows on the floor.
- Lie down in front of the block with your knees bent and your lower legs resting on the b block.
- Your legs should feel comfortable.
- Extend your arms to the side.
- Hold this position for three minutes.
Some people find this very relaxing and enjoyable. You can do this exercise as part of your exercise routine, yoga routine, or meditation session.
A Balanced Being
Balance and alignment encompass so much more than structural health. Living a balanced lifestyle and aligning with our values paves the way to healthy living. The Organic Foot is the alignment of health and happiness.
Strengthen Your Feet
Strong, healthy feet are essential to your balance, but they’re also a significant part of your physical and emotional well-being. They keep you centered and grounded while allowing you to move freely through your days.
Strong Feet Support You
Dr. Dawn has known about the importance of strong feet for decades. In her book “Natural Solutions to Common Foot Problems,” she writes that most foot-related problems develop because the foot has lost strength. When your feet are weak, your foot shifts out of alignment.
When the foot is misaligned, one is more likely to develop bunions, hammertoes, corns, calluses, neuromas, and other conditions and problems with knees, hips, and backs.
So, what is the answer? Fortunately, it’s as easy as spending a few minutes a day exercising your feet. We’ll look at some of the best ways to get strong, supple feet.
Tips to exercising your feet:
- When possible, exercise them barefoot or in grip socks.
- Start slow, and work your way up to more intense exercises.
- Stretch your toes gently after every exercise.
Holistic Foot Exercises
Some exercises do more than exercise your body. Yoga, dance, and barre exercises engage your mind and body and are foot strengtheners. These mindful, meditative forms of exercise enhance your awareness, lower your stress levels, reduce chronic pain, help you breathe better, and make your bones stronger. Make mindful exercise part of your day and reap the benefits of mind, body, and spirit.
Walking barefoot has many benefits!
First, it gives your feet a workout that engages the natural range of motion. When you free them from shoes, your feet can move freely and engage all their musculatures. Removing your shoes will relieve pain and pressure if you have bunions, hammertoes, or other conditions, which is also a treat.
Second, walking barefoot forces your feet to balance on all surfaces. To make this work for you, be sure to walk on uneven ground and try to walk on different surfaces. As your feet cope with changing terrains, they will naturally get stronger.
You’ll also enhance your balance, which is increasingly important as you age. Walking barefoot in the sand is one of the best exercises you can do, but it can be tiring if you’re a newbie, so only walk short distances first.
Third, and just as important, walking barefoot is a form of grounding. Grounding connects you to the earth’s electrons, a powerful antioxidant! Let the earth move under your feet!
Rolling your feet is one of the best ways to exercise them. Rolling feels excellent, and it is a beautiful way to release stiffness in your ligaments. Rolling connects your feet to other body parts with enhanced blood flow and mobility. Here’s how to do it.
- Do this while seated or standing.
- Place a tennis ball or other small ball on the ground. You can also use a foam roller or similar item.
- Place your foot on the ball, and roll the ball gently.
- Start at the toes, and move the ball to the arch.
- Move slowly back and forth a few times.
Don’t forget those toes! Exercising toes can prevent rigid unsightly hammertoes and claw toes. You will need a chair, a large bowl, and 10 to 20 marbles.
- Sit with your feet flat on the floor.
- Place several marbles and the bowl on the floor in front of your feet.
- Pick up a marble using only your toes, and drop it into the bowl.
- Use one foot to pick up all the marbles, and then switch to the other foot.
In the book “Natural Solutions to Common Foot Problems” by Dr. Dawn Olsen Figlo, you’ll learn these and other ways to heal your feet with safe, natural remedies.