What Is Metatarsalgia?

About Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia (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