Metatarsalgia – Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
At Footstar Orthotics, we know exactly how distracting and limiting foot pain can be, which is why we offer our clientele quick and easy ways to turn their lives around. For many people, taking care of their feet is not an important priority. However, we tend to forget that feet make us mobile, offer us support, and balance our bodies.
When issues with our feet are left undiagnosed for long amounts of time, or when a foot is not able to properly distribute weight, they begin to affect other parts of our bodies. This includes our ankles, knees, hips, and spinal cords. With this in mind, you can imagine how much damage these focal joints and bones could potentially face due to poorly structured feet. This can lead to discomfort, recurring pain, or even extreme pain.
A recurring foot issue that we see at Footstar Orthotics is Metatarsalgia, which can easily be prevented and soothed by wearing one of our custom-made orthopedics.
What is Metatarsalgia?
The medical term Metatarsalgia stems from the word metatarsal. For those who are not familiar with the word, metatarsal refers to a region of the foot more commonly denounced as the ball-of-the-foot region. Generally, the condition of Metatarsalgia affects this region of the foot, but is more closely observed to originate from the area under the first three toes, which is known as the metatarsal head.
Metatarsalgia is the condition that occurs when the metatarsal head begins to experience chronic pain and inflammation. While the condition might have a threatening name, it is in no way life threatening and can easily be diagnosed by a doctor and treated by wearing Footstar’s orthotic solutions.
When individuals first start experiencing pain in the ball of the foot, they often do not realize that the pain is emanating from the metatarsal region of their foot. This causes it to be harder to pinpoint and self-diagnose. However, when the pain begins to increase, the individual feeling it will become aware of the painful area and might experience trouble walking.
Metatarsalgia is sometimes referred to as a stone bruise, as it feels as though you are stepping on a stone. This condition directly affects the bones and joints of the metatarsal head, which can make it very difficult to perform the average task.
What Are the Symptoms of Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia symptoms might differ between individuals, but the location of the pain is one of the biggest giveaways. For some people, Metatarsalgia symptoms are bearable and do not cause them extreme discomfort. In fact, these people often describe the feeling as walking on small pebbles. However, some people with this condition are not as fortunate and can feel imprisoned by their pain. It may even feel like a “burning” sensation and a pain in the ball of the foot. Generally, the symptoms of Metatarsalgia are similar to the following:
- A constant pain that is present whether they are walking or not
- A tingling sensation in the three toes above the metatarsal head
- Sharp aches and pains that soar through their toes when walking, running, or completing minute tasks
- Pain that becomes heightened when they apply pressure to the metatarsal region, but instant relief when taking the weight off their feet
- General weakness in the legs
- Difficulty sleeping when pain is at its worst
- Difficult walking and exercising
- Toe pain
While some of these Metatarsalgia symptoms sound intense, they usually only reach this height when constant years of abuse have been rendered. This means that people who have begun feeling metatarsal pain have continued to practice the same lifestyle without any means of treatment until the pain became unbearable.
What are the Causes of Metatarsalgia?
While some people may experience Metatarsalgia by means of trauma, genetics, and athleticism, the following ways are generally the most popular causes:
- Wearing Improper Footwear: At Footstar Orthotics, we cannot stress how important it is for everyone to wear supportive and comfortable footwear. Failing to do so can result in a number of painful conditions that can thoroughly affect someone’s quality of life. If an individual is constantly wearing tight shoes or high heels, but failing to wear custom-made orthopedic insoles inside of them, they can be at risk of getting Metatarsalgia.
- Extreme Exercise: While exercise is a healthy practice recommended by health care professionals, there is such a thing as too much exercise. There are some who enjoy exercising so much that they unknowingly put too much stress on their metatarsal region. High impact exercise is achieved by playing intense sports, running, jumping, and other similar activities. Although exercise is recommended, people should always wear the proper footwear and Footstar Orthotics insoles to promote healthy feet.
- Obesity: Many people who have attained Metatarsalgia are often overweight. This is because their bodies cannot afford to carry all the extra weight, and start distributing large amounts of it to other areas of the body, one of them being the metatarsal region. While the foot is made to support weight, there is only so much it can carry, and an overload can cause inflammation and strain in different regions of the foot such as a pain in the ball of the foot. Losing weight, performing light exercises, and following a healthy diet is advised for any individuals battling obesity and Metatarsalgia.
- Foot Structure: Not everyone is born with perfect feet, which is why many people have to wear corrective orthotics from a young age. In some cases, the structure of an individual’s foot can make them more susceptible to Metatarsalgia. Malformations such as high arches can make an individual more prone to this condition.
- Age: As we age, our supportive tissues begin to thin out, causing an array of issues. This factor does not exempt our feet, which is why many of us tend to encounter issues in the feet as we age. The pad of tissue that protects our metatarsal bones is prone to thinning out over time, which is why so many middle-aged people have this condition.
- Injury: One of the most obvious ways to contract Metatarsalgia is by means of injury. Should someone break their foot or fracture their toes in an accident, they might end up having issues with their metatarsals. Should this occur, the individual who is feeling pain will end up using other parts of their foot to support their weight, which can ultimately lead to other issues.
Who Does Metatarsalgia Affect and Why?
Metatarsalgia, like many other conditions, knows no preference between age and gender, and is usually found in people who have overused the padding under their metatarsal region. While this condition is more popular in the older generation, it is still very present in younger people as well.
Metatarsalgia often affects people who do not take care of their feet, particularly the ones who wear tight or ill-fitted shoes. This condition also targets those who already have existing issues such as low or high arches, bunions, plantar fasciitis, calluses, and other similar conditions.
How Does Someone Get Diagnosed With Metatarsalgia?
In order for an individual with Metatarsalgia to be diagnosed, it is important to make an appointment with a local podiatrist or health care professional. Once a person is face-to-face with their doctor, they can begin explaining their pain. Likely the patient will answer a short series of questions, such as:
- When did you first notice your pain begin?
- When is your pain at its worst? At its best?
- Have you experienced any other types of pain? For example, in the heel, ankles, or legs?
- What kinds of tasks do you perform on an everyday basis, and how does your foot pain factor into that?
- What types of shoes do you wear on a daily basis? Do you feel that they fit you properly?
Doctors will also make sure to ask their patients about their medical history and whether or not anyone in their family has encountered similar issues. Sometimes genetics are the cause of issues in the feet, so they will need to know this information to help make a diagnosis.
In addition to this list, patients may be asked to undergo a series of endurance tests. However, if the patient is in too much pain, these tests may not be necessary. Finally, the doctor might choose to have an x-ray of their patient’s foot taken, as this can serve as a good reference to making a final diagnosis.
How is Metatarsalgia Treated?
There are dozens of ways an individual can treat their Metatarsalgia, most of which can easily be achieved from home. However, in extreme cases doctors might recommend that their patients receive steroid injections or foot surgery. The following is a potential list of home-based treatments for Metatarsalgia:
- For pain relief, it is advised to apply ice in increments of 15 minutes several times a day.
- Changing footwear is one of the most successful ways to treat Metatarsalgia, especially when pairing these up with comfortable insoles.
- When resting, place the least amount of pressure on the feet as possible.
- Wear flat shoes instead of heels.
- The use of custom-made orthopedic solutions.
- With the permission of your doctor or health care professional, taking anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen.
Why Are Footstar’s Orthotic Solutions Ideal When Treating Metatarsalgia?
At Footstar Orthotics, we are proud to say that our solutions are ideal for treating Metatarsalgia. This is because we make state of the art insoles and arch supports that offer the right type of padding needed to keep Metatarsalgia symptoms at bay.
When our clients contact us saying that they have recently been diagnosed with Metatarsalgia and are in need of custom-made orthopedics, we send them our foam impression box as soon as they are ordered. Since we are familiar with our success of helping our clients deal with their malformations and conditions, we cannot wait to deliver the same type of care to our newest clients.
Once we have received your foam impression, our experienced team then pinpoints your needs and structural imperfections. With the use of new technologies and lasers, we are able to mold the ideal orthotic solution to lessen the load on their metatarsal region.
More than that, Footstar Orthotics only uses the highest quality materials available. We will add extra padding and support where we see fit, and this allows you to keep your insoles in good shape for years to come.
Contact Footstar Orthotics
Anyone who is suffering from pain in the ball of the foot should make it a point to visit their podiatrist as quickly as possible. Since foot issues can radiate throughout the body, it is highly important to receive the care and support needed to stop other issues from manifesting themselves.
Don’t wait before you can no longer walk before ordering a pair of our custom-made orthopedic insoles. Doing so can result in further issues. Just take a look at our options for insoles and order yours today. You can choose to order insoles for cleats, dance shoes, sandals, high heels as tall as 2 to 6 inches, work boots, and your other favorite pairs of shoes. Our waterproof options mean that you can truly wear them anytime and anywhere. Our fully-washable insoles are resistant to salt, chlorine, bacteria and fungus and feature a shock-absorbent, anti-microbial top cover. You couldn’t find a more convenient footwear option anywhere else!
Whether you want custom-made insoles to prevent any future issues from developing or to help soothe a current one, Footstar Orthotics can supply you with quality products that can change your quality of life. Contact us for yours today.