Metatarsalgia is a condition marked by pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot.

You may experience metatarsalgia if you're physically active and your feet are impacted by running and jumping. Or, you may develop metatarsalgia by wearing ill-fitting shoes. There are other causes as well.

Although generally not serious, metatarsalgia can sideline you. Fortunately, proper footwear, along with custom orthotics, may be all you need to prevent or minimize future problems with metatarsalgia.

Symptoms of metatarsalgia may include:
  • Pain in the ball of your foot — the part of the sole just behind your toes
  • Sharp, aching or burning pain
  • Pain in the area around your second, third or fourth toes — or, only near your big toe
  • Pain that gets worse when you stand, walk or run and improves when you rest
  • Sharp or shooting pain in your toes
  • Numbness or tingling in your toes
  • Pain that worsens when you flex your feet
  • A feeling in your feet as if you're walking with a pebble in your shoe
  • Increased pain when you're walking barefoot, especially on a hard surface
Sometimes these symptoms develop suddenly — especially if you've recently increased your usual amount of running, jumping or other high-impact exercise — but problems usually develop over time.

The most effective treatment of metatarsalgia is custom orthotics with metartarsal pad accommodations.

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