Island Orthotics

Metatarsalgia

Learn how to manage your Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is the medical term used to describe pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot. The metatarsal heads are the bones you push off of when taking a step. A change in the distribution of weight on the metatarsals increases pressure on the bones, particularly the heads of the bones that connect with the toes. When a metatarsal head is pushed downwards, below the level of the other metatarsal heads, it is subjected to the full weight of the body at each step. Such abnormal pressure will eventually induce a painful inflammatory response.

Some common causes include:

  • Foot shape: a high arch to the foot, a flat foot, or an unusually long second toe
  • Foot conditions such as a bunion that can cause the big toe joint to become stiff and increase pressure on the ball of the foot, or a hammertoe, where one toe curls downwards and depresses the metatarsal head.
  • Being very active, particularly in sports that involve running or jumping
  • Conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, Freiberg’s disease, or Morton’s neuroma
  • Thinning of the fat pad: thinning can be caused by the normal aging process, by a dropped metatarsal head which gradually pushes the fat out of position, by extra pressure from wearing high-heeled or thin-soled shoes, or by some medical conditions

Symptoms usually develop gradually, but sometimes there can be a sudden onset of pain ranging from mild to severe and from aching to sharp, in the ball of the foot.

Orthosis Function:

Both custom and prefabricated foot orthoses, depending on your foot mechanics, are recommended for the treatment of metatarsalgia. Having a good supportive longitudinal arch support increases the weight bearing surface and deflects pressure away from the ball of the foot. Proper placement of the metatarsal dome functions to elevate the dropped metatarsal heads again reducing the pressure over this area. In cases where there is a reduced fat pad adding a cushioning component to the orthoses is a necessity.

Suffering From Foot Pain?

If you're suffering from pain in your feet, we offer service options that relieve common pain associated with:
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (PTTD)
  • Bunion and Bunionette Management
  • Hammar Toe
  • Sesamoiditis
  • Plantar Ulcerations
  • Diabetic Footcare

Treatment Guide

Experiencing other joint pain? use our treatment guide to explore other bracing options that we offer.
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