What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia refers to pain across the ball joints of the foot and it can be caused by a multitude of pathologies, including overloading of the joints, capsulitis, neuroma, stress fractures, toe deformities and soft tissue lesions. It may affect one or several joints in the foot.

What Causes Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia can be caused by several factors which place extra stress on the front of the foot.

Deformities such bunions, arthritis of the big toe and hammer or claw toes can irritate the ball of the foot or press the metatarsal down towards the ground which can exacerbate the condition.

Symptoms of metatarsalgia can include:

  • A sharp burning pain in the ball of your foot.
  • Pain that worsens when you stand, walk, flex your feet or run (specifically when on a hard surface) and improves when you rest.
  • A sharp or shooting pain, numbness, or tingling in your toes.
  • A feeling likened to constantly having a pebble in your shoe.
What are the Treatment Options for Metatarsalgia?

Conservative and surgical solutions are available to treat metatarsalgia.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Conservative treatment options such as resting your foot, changing your footwear or inserting a metatarsal pad into your shoes can help relieve pain. Insoles and orthotics can also be used to provide comfort and redistribute pressure.

However, when conservative measures don’t relieve your pain and your metatarsalgia is complicated by foot conditions such as hammertoes or bunions, surgery to realign the bones might be an option.

Surgical Treatment

Surgical treatment for bone-based metatarsalgia involves breaking or cutting one or more of the metatarsal bones and shortening by a few millimetres. This is performed under general or local anesthetic through a small incision on the top of your foot. The metatarsal is cut, repositioned and then the bone is repaired using a small screw. Click here to find out more about neuroma treatments.

Mr. Kannegieter will be able to advise on the right treatment option for you during your consultation.

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