Metatarsalgia is a painful and inflammatory ailment affecting the ball of your foot. You might develop it if you engage in activities that require running. Other factors include foot defects and shoes that are too loose or tight.

Although not usually severe, metatarsalgia may be incapacitating. Fortunately, at-home therapies like ice and relaxation may frequently reduce symptoms. Wearing suitable footwear with shock-absorbing insoles helps to avoid or reduce future metatarsalgia problems.


Symptoms of metatarsalgia include:

  • Burning pain in the ball of your foot — the area of the sole right beneath your toes
  • Pain that becomes worse when you flex your feet, run, walk, or stand– particularly barefoot on a hard surface – and gets better when you rest
  • Toe numbness, tingling, or sharp or shooting pain
  • Feeling of having a stone in your shoe

See your doctor if you have any of these symptoms regularly. If left untreated, metatarsalgia may result in hammertoes, a limp, and discomfort in other body areas, such as the hip and lower back when you start to compensate and walk improperly.


Symptoms of metatarsalgia may be caused by a variety of foot problems. Your doctor will check your foot when you sit and stand, as well as inquire about your lifestyle and activity level to help determine the cause of your pain. An X-ray may be required to discover or confirm a stress fracture or other foot problems.


The main goal of treatment is to relieve pain and soreness. Both home treatments and medical treatment can be helpful.

Metatarsalgia home treatments include:

  • Wrap a cold compress for 20 minutes every 2–3 hours to protect the skin.
  • Take OTC painkillers like paracetamol
  • Avoid prolonged standing to reduce foot strain
  • Rest with feet up
  • Reduce walking pressure using shock-absorbing insoles or arch supports
  • Place fleece, foam, felt, or gel coverings in shoes
  • Use metatarsal pads or bars to support the foot and relieve metatarsal bone pressure
  • Keep a healthy weight to minimize stress

If home treatment fails or doesn’t work, a doctor will prescribe metatarsal pain therapies based on the reason.

They may:

  • request lab tests for arthritis or gout
  • suggest physiotherapy
  • prescribe medications
  • refer to a steroid expert
  • suggest injections for pain and swelling
  • prescribe orthotics for foot support
  • manage a fracture by strapping or casting it
  • suggest surgery

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