Experiencing Pain in The Balls of Your Feet?
The balls of your feet describe the areas on the bottom of your soles, directly behind the toes. Each is made up of five metatarsal joints, which enable the toes to flex and push off the ground. This area of the foot bears the weight of the body as well as forces many times larger during explosive movements such as running or jumping. Ball of foot pain that occurs can also be called metatarsalgia.
Why Does It Hurt?
Metatarsalgia occurs as a result of excess pressure on the metatarsals--the long bones at the base of each toe. Pain and inflammation develop when something changes in the way your foot functions and causes irregular weight distribution. Any one or more of the following factors can lead to metatarsalgia:
Bunions - the large bump at the joint of your big toe that affects bone alignment. They weaken the big toe and cause excess stress on the ball of the foot.
Hammertoes - abnormal bending of the toe joints. This condition will cause toes to curl downward and depresses the metatarsal heads.
Overuse Injuries - are common among runners. The front of the feet absorb significant amounts of force and impact while running. When overworked, feet are at a higher risk to developing metatarsalgia.
High Arches - don't allow even distribution of pressure on the ball of the foot when walking or running. The pressure becomes excessive and causes the Achilles tendon to tighten.
Foot Shape - plays a large role in determining how pressure is distributed amongst the foot. Have flat feet or long second toe's can cause more weight than normal to be shifted to the second metatarsal head.
Weight - Extra pounds means extra pressure. Because most of your body weight transfers to your forefoot when you move, excess weight causes pain in the ball of the foot.
Poorly Fitting Shoes - such as high heels place too much pressure on the metatarsals. Shoes that are narrow at the toe or lack support and padding also contribute to metatarsalgia.
Morton's Neuroma - is a growth that occurs between the third and fourth metatarsal heads. It leads to stress on the forefoot. Morton's neuroma is associated with high heels and high impact activities.
A more uncommon condition known as Freiberg's disease can also cause a slow deterioration and flattening of a metatarsal head.
What Treatments are Available?
If you're experiencing pain in the ball of your foot visit the Absolute Foot Care Specialists of Las Vegas. Depending on the cause and severity of your discomfort, you may simply need to rest the foot and apply ice. Dr. Noah Levine may prescribe pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin to reduce the inflammation. He may even recommend custom orthotics, specially fitted to your foot type and stride, or advise you on over the counter options for orthotics.
Help us help you! Keeping your weight within a healthy range can take a lot of pressure off your feet, as will equipping your feet with the proper footwear. If you develop ball of foot pain, contact Absolute Foot Care Specialists of Las Vegas today! You can make an appointment online or by calling our office at (702) 839-2010.