Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia)

Pain under the ball of the foot (Metatarsalgia) is a common complaint with women wearing high heels and fashion shoes. However, pain in this area of the foot can also occur when wearing normal flat shoes. Generally, there are two types of Ball of Foot Pain:

1) Ball of Foot pain in women's fashion shoes (with medium to high heel)

2) Ball of Foot pain in normal flat shoes

It is important to determine in which category your foot pain falls, as this will also determine the best form of treatment required. Click here to learn more about Ball of Foot pain wearing normal shoes.

1) Ball of Foot Pain in women's fashion shoes

Pain under the ball of the foot (Metatarsalgia) is a common complaint with women wearing fashion shoes that are quite tight and/or have a medium to high heel.

Symptoms

Metatarsalgia is often described as a burning sensation in the ball of the foot often combined with excess callous forming. The pain worsens when when wearing high heels or tight fashion shoes for a longer periods of time.

What causes Ball of Foot Pain?

Ball of Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia) occurs when the metatarsals (forefoot bones) drop and the surrounding ligaments weaken. The entire forefoot structure will collapse, in turn leading to excess pressure and friction under the ball of the foot. The key reason for this problem is that when wearing heels, 70-80% of your bodyweight is placed on the forefoot area.

Treatment and pain relief in fashion shoes

For women who like wearing fashion shoes there's now a solution to painful burning feet... Footlogics Catwalk insoles restore biomechanical balance by supporting the arch, as well as the metatarsal bones.

This means that your bodyweight is distributed more evenly i.e. over the entire foot instead of just pushing into the forefoot. In turn, Catwalk insoles prevent excessive pressure and friction in the ball of the foot. As a result there's a reduction of pain and the associated burning sensation - especially with longer periods of standing or walking.

Interestingly, wearing Footlogics insoles in high heels is often described by women as a sensation of wearing low heeled or flat shoes...!

Catwalk orthotics are recommended and used by podiatrists across Australia. The product is available from pharmacies or can be bought from our webshop.

Footlogics Catwalk - $21.95
2) Ball of Foot Pain in normal (flat) shoes

Ball of Foot pain is not just limited to women wearing fashion shoes. A large number of men and women suffer from ball of foot pain when wearing normal flat shoes. Metatarsalgia is often described by sufferers as a sharp or burning pain under the balls of the feet. Sometimes pain is present in the area around the second, third or fourth toes. The pain gets worse when you stand, walk or run and improves with resting. Some people experience a feeling under the foot as if they're walking with a pebble in their shoe. Walking barefoot is often too painful.

Causes

There are a number of causes for this type of foot pain: for example, a sudden increase in sporting activities such as running. Also walking or standing for long periods of time in hard shoes and boots can cause ball of foot pain. This condition is therefore quite common in people employed with the police, military, security, farming, teaching, tradesmen etc. Being overweight can also play a role, as this places excessive pressure on the feet.

However, biomechanical research has shown that the most common cause for Metatarsalgia is a condition called excessive pronation or over-pronation. This is the collapsing of the arches and rolling inwards of the ankles.

To understand the problem of over-pronation, let's first take a look at the anatomy of the human foot...

Our feet consist of 26 bones, held together through a web of muscles and ligaments. The foot is not flat on the ground but is held up in the middle forming two arches: the Longitudinal arch (or instep) running along the foot from the heel to the toes and the Transverse arch which runs across the foot.

Five metatarsal bones run from the middle of the foot to your toe joints. Over-pronation means the longtudinal arch collapses and the ankle joint rolls inwards, every time the foot lands on the ground. A common side-effect of over-pronation is excess pressure on the metatarsals, which in turn leads to lowering (or collapsing) of the Transverse arch. The forefoot structure is severely weakened, causing pain in the ball of the foot and inflammation at the metatarsal joints. Wearing hard, flat shoes and walking on hard surfaces such as concrete, pavements, tiled floors etc will make this problem even worse.

arches of the foot

Treatment

First of all you should minimise any walking or standing, where possible. Also, wear supportive footwear and apply ice at night for a about 5-10 minute to cool down the inflammation. Remove excess callous (if present) with a pumice stone or visit a chiropodist to have it professionally removed.

Orthotic insoles can be very effective to treat Ball of Foot pain as they will provide the necessary biomechanical correction and prevent over-pronation.

Footlogics Comfort orthotics support the Longitudinal arch and re-align the feet and ankles. Importantly, these insoles also feature a metatarsal raise to support the transverse arch. In turn, Footlogics greatly reduces the pressure and friction in the ball of the foot, thus providing long-term relief from ball of foot pain.

Footlogics Comfort - $32.95