Metatarsalgia is defined as a sharp cramping pain in the metatarsal area of the foot. It is also defined as an inflammation in the ball of the foot area that is thought to be a symptom of another issue or condition in the foot.
Metatarsalgia is very common amongst people that are athletic or who exercise a lot or people who walk in high heels. In some cases, even people who normally don’t participate in high impact sports can also be exposed to this pain.
Causes of metatarsalgia
- High level of activity
Such exercises as running and jumping can often lead to metatarsalgia. The impact of these sports on the foot is immense and widespread and it eventually causes a lot of pain in the foot.
- Tight Achilles tendon
The straining of the Achilles tendon makes the pain to be in the foot. This is because it is a major tendon in the foot which moves a lot during walking or running.
- Excessive pronation
Such exercises as running and walking involve side to side movement of the foot that increase pronation. This excessive pronation can eventually lead to metatarsalgia.
- A high arch.
A physical deformity known as the high arch in the toe bone can lead to a lot pain during walking and running. It strains the foot during activity making it painful to walk or run.
- Weak toe and foot muscles
The muscles in the foot and the toes can also contribute to the pain in foot. When they are forced to flex a lot they can lead to a lot of pain. When the muscles in the foot and toes are too tight it can also lead to pain in the foot.
- Ill-fitting footwear.
Whenever a person wears shoes that don’t fit, it effectively distorts the walking styles which leads to metatarsalgia in the foot. This can be during or after the walk or run.
Metatarsalgia once caused can often not be noted by most people. Many people will just ignore it as normal foot pain until it is severe. Several symptoms however show metatarsalgia in its initial stages;
- A burning or aching sensation in the foot
- Continuous tingling in the toes
- A feeling like there is a small stone under the foot
- A shooting pain in the lower foot area.
These symptoms can therefore signify the occurrence of metatarsalgia in the ball of the foot area. The incidence of metatarsalgia can be very painful to the individual and can be a hindrance to activity and normal day to day walking.
This necessarily means that metatarsalgia can effectively alter the normal operation of activities and on the long term, it can lead to several problems such as plantar fasciitis.
Metatarsalgia can be treated by very easy systems such as the insertion of metatarsal pads in shoes and through physical therapy. This condition therefore, is a big issue to many people but with simple management it can be handled effectively.