So Your Doctor Says You Have Metatarsalgia

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If you’ve been diagnosed with metatarsalgia by your doctor, you probably have a lot of questions. At Applied Biomechanics, it’s our goal to make sure you’re informed about your foot or leg problems so that you can make the right decisions about your treatment.

What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a general term that refers to any pain in the general area of the metatarsal heads, also more commonly known as the “ball of the foot” or “forefoot.”

Some of the specific diagnoses which fall under this catch-all term would include, but are not limited to:

  • Morton’s Neuroma – inflammation to the cover of the interdigital nerve
  • Morton’s toe – short first metatarsal leading to increased pressure under second metatarsal head
  • Capsulitis – inflammation to joint capsule of a toe
  • Stress fracture to a metatarsal
  • Plantar plate tear

Common symptoms of metatarsalgia can include:

  • Sharp, aching or burning pain in ball of the foot
  • Pain worsens with increased activity, walking on hard surfaces barefoot, and worsens in tight shoes
  • Tingling, pins and needles, or numbness in toes
  • Feeling as if there is a pebble in your shoe or your sock feels creased

What Causes Metatarsalgia?

  • Foot alignment and foot mechanics play a large role
  • Calf tightness, which can increase pressure on the ball of the foot
  • Excess weight can increase pressure on the feet and make any minor alignment issues a bigger problem
  • Poorly fitting shoes or improper shoe’s for activity
  • Underlying health condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
  • Trauma
  • Failed surgical intervention


Metatarsalgia normally responds well to conservative treatment, and surgery should be used only as a last resort when all conservative treatments have failed. Conservative treatment options include, but are not limited to, proper fitting footwear, over the counter insoles, custom made orthotics, footwear modifications and stretching exercises.

Our team at Applied Biomechanics can help you determine which of these solutions is most appropriate. Contact us today!

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