Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia

What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is an umbrella term for conditions that cause pain over the forefoot or around the ball of the foot. It should be regarded as a description of pain than a diagnosis. Patients with metatarsalgia should be further assessed to determine the underlying diagnosis of the pain.

Metatarsalgia explained

Conditions That Cause Metatarsalgia

Conditions that can cause metatarsalgia include:

  • Sesamoiditis
  • Plantar plate injury
  • Metatarsophalangeal joint capsulitis or synovitis
  • Collateral ligament injury of the toe joint
  • Stress fracture of the metatarsal bone
  • Neuroma
  • Intermetatarsal bursitis
  • Arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis

Risk Factors of Metatarsalgia

Risk factors that can cause metatarsalgia include:

  • High-impact sports
  • Barefoot training or running
  • Sudden increase in activity
  • Landing from height
  • Footwear that lacks support or cushion
  • Reduced fat pad under the foot
  • Activities that puts pressure on the forefoot (e.g sprinting, ballet)
Metatarsalgia Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

Signs and symptoms of metatarsalgia include:

  • Pain around the ball of the foot
  • Stiffness or pain when moving the toe
  • Redness or swelling may be present
  • Pain when walking barefoot
  • Numbness, tingling or burning sensation if a nerve is affected

Metatarsalgia Treatment

The treatment for metatarsalgia is based on the underlying diagnosis but often involves reducing the load on the forefoot and providing direct treatment over the affected structures.

Treatment options include:

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