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Bloomington (812) 333-4422
Bedford (812) 277-1000
Washington (812) 254-2911


 

What Could be Bothering the Ball of Your Foot?

What Could be Bothering the Ball of Your Foot?

The balls of your feet are like unsung heroes – they help you push off when you step, stand on your tippy toes, jump, and more, but they’re never paid much attention. Of course, all that changes when they start hurting and hindering you from doing things you enjoy!

Pain in the balls of your feet can result from a number of causes, but the two main culprits are metatarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma — which each have numerous causes of their own.

Metatarsalgia

The long bones in your feet that attach to your toes are called metatarsals, and when the ends of these bones become aggravated and inflamed, ball of foot pain ensues! What’s behind this irritation?

  • Repetitive stress, from running a lot of miles, for example, can irritate and even crack your metatarsal bones.
  • Excessive weight. Feet are carrying your body weight already, and extra weight can cause extra stress.
  • Toe deformities. If you have a bunion, or claw or hammertoes, this misalignment of joints and imbalance of muscle can put pressure on your metatarsal.
  • High-heeled shoes. This style of footwear forces your foot in a position that places all your weight on the balls of your feet — no wonder they hurt!
  • Arthritis. Swelling and stiffness of the joints between your toes and metatarsals can result in pain.
  • Diabetes. This condition is often associated with nerve damage in the feet which may cause symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, and burning. Guess what else has similar symptoms? Morton’s neuroma!

Morton’s neuroma

This occurs when a nerve that runs between the metatarsal bones becomes thickened due to irritation. The result is numbness, tingling, burning, and pain in the ball of your foot, most often (but not always) affecting the area between the third and fourth toes.

Metatarsalgia and Morton’s neuroma are often found together, but can luckily be treated conservatively, with rest, a switch to roomier, lower-heeled shoes, orthotics, and breaking up activities with low-impact options like swimming and yoga. If these methods fail to provide relief, nerve decompression surgery may need to be considered. If you are struggling with ball of foot pain, call our Bloomington, IN office for an appointment today by dialing (812) 333-4422. We can get you the help you need!

Nailing Down Remedies for Managing Metatarsalgia

For some fancy footwork from talented up-and-comers, attend the free Hammer and Nail collaboration at Buskirk-Chumley Theatre on April 14 and 15. Student choreographers, composers, dancers, and musicians all team up to create original programs. It’s a one-of-a-kind performance, but one you might not enjoy as much if the ball of your foot feels under the hammer. Here are some home remedies for metatarsalgia to try when pain and inflammation hit.

Ice can be a faithful companion in fighting ball of foot pain. Apply cold to the area for about 20 minutes several times each day, making sure not to damage the skin from exposure. Take these times to elevate and rest your foot as well, especially after standing or walking for a while. People with diabetes should not put ice on their feet for any reason.

A better pair of shoes can also do wonders for metatarsalgia discomfort. A flatter heel and more room may be what you need, but you might also benefit from shoes that are better suited for the shape of your foot, gait, and activities. Shoes can also be boosted with metatarsal pads or custom orthotics for additional relief and comfort. A firm running shoe is also good for metatarsagia.

Over-the counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can also offset pain and inflammation when needed. Remember to only use these medicines as directed.

If these remedies for metatarsalgia haven’t worked, and pain continues to pound away at the ball of your foot, call Dr. Kevin Powers. He and his helpful staff will help you get to the source of the problem and find more effective treatments. Call our Bloomington office at (812) 333-4422 to schedule an appointment.

 

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