Metatarsalgia & Ball of Foot Pain
Whether you’re a long-distance runner or just spend a lot of time on your feet, you might experience pain or discomfort in the ball of your foot. Metatarsalgia, or ball of foot pain, is a condition that affects the bottom of the foot in the front where the area between your arches and toes becomes inflamed or irritated.
What Does It Mean When the Ball of Your Foot Hurts?
When the ball of your foot hurts, it’s likely a result of uneven distribution of weight or increased pressure on the metatarsal bones located between your arch and toes. Pain in the ball of the foot makes it hard to walk comfortably and can keep you from participating in activities you enjoy. However, metatarsalgia pain is treatable and with proper care you can prevent and even eliminate the pain.
Ball of foot pain when walking is especially noticeable because, as you walk, your body weight transfers from your heel to the ball of your foot. An uneven transfer of weight, excessive pressure, or certain foot deformities can cause inflammation, pain, and swelling. Often, this is common for people in high-impact sports where a lot of pressure is applied to the feet.
Symptoms of Metatarsalgia
Most people who have metatarsalgia describe the condition as sharp or stabbing pain in the ball of the foot. You might even feel like you have a rock stuck in your shoe. This is sometimes known as “stone bruise.”
Common metatarsalgia symptoms include:
- Sharp, burning, or aching pain in the ball of your foot
- Pain that gets worse when standing, running, or walking
- Stabbing pain, numbness or tingling in the toes
- Feeling like something hard, such as a rock or pebble, is stuck in your shoe
- Painful calluses on the skin around the ball of your foot
- Bruising or swelling in the area
If you’ve been on your feet all day long, you might experience mild pain that goes away once you rest. Some metatarsalgia pain can be more severe, lasting longer than a few days and making everyday activities like walking the dog or taking the kids to the bus stop painful. For severe metatarsal pain, visit your doctor or podiatrist for a diagnosis and treatment options.
What's Causing My Ball of Foot Pain?
Consider what activities you like to do and the kind of shoes you wear when figuring out what causes pain in the ball of your foot. A lack of support in your shoes is a common factor. If you’re a frequent runner or have high arches, you might also experience symptoms of stone bruises.
Other causes for ball of foot pain include:
- Arthritis, gout, or joint inflammation in the feet
- Wearing shoes that are too tight, too narrow, or lack support
- Foot deformities and conditions like hammertoe, bunions, or Morton’s Neuroma
- Excess weight putting too much pressure on the feet
- Stress fractures or other injuries changing how you walk
- Prolonged periods of standing
- Increase in high-impact activities or sports
- Intense training in worn-out tennis shoes
How Do You Treat Ball of Foot Pain?
There are several ways to remedy pain in the ball of your foot. At-home metatarsalgia treatment options are great for mild symptoms while podiatrist recommended orthotic insoles for ball of foot pain prevent further problems.
Some doctors might recommend a metatarsal pad to help separate and support the metatarsal bones. Meanwhile, resting and icing your feet or wearing more supportive shoes can relieve mild stone bruise or ball of foot pain.
When treating metatarsalgia pain, you want to reduce the amount of pressure and stress on your feet. Shoes or insoles with strong arch support and special shock-absorbing material can help minimize that pressure and provide immediate relief for metatarsalgia.
Insoles for Ball of Foot Pain & Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia insoles support your arch and put less pressure on the ball of your foot, relieving pain or inflammation around your toes. Insoles for metatarsalgia pain are great for using inside your running shoes, walking shoes, or other everyday footwear.
PowerStep® orthotic insoles are designed to provide you with the right amount of support where you need it so you can prevent and solve pain at the source.
Our best insoles for ball of foot pain are:
Pinnacle Plus with Met Orthotic Insoles
The Pinnacle Plus Met insoles provide cushioning and support while a built-in metatarsal pad spreads and supports the metatarsal heads to get rid of pain. These insoles are ideal for metatarsalgia, alleviating pain caused by the condition and other foot conditions that put pressure on the front of your foot and toes.SHOP NOW
PULSE® Plus with Met Running Shoe Insoles
PULSE Plus running shoe insoles with added metatarsal pad are designed to relieve and prevent pain from metatarsalgia. Made specifically for athletic shoes, these insoles have all the benefits of Pinnacle Plus with the addition of a ShockAbsorb™ Premium Foam layer for superior cushioning.SHOP NOW
IPK Ball of Foot Cushion Inserts
PowerStep Ball of Foot cushions are self-adhesive foam pad inserts placed directly under the ball of your foot to reduce pain from metatarsalgia. They relieve pressure in the front of your foot, so you can walk and move around without ball of foot pain.SHOP NOW
Metatarsal Foot Pads
Our metatarsal foot pads work as cushions to combat pain caused by metatarsalgia. Great for heels or dress shoes, they provide comfort to the ball of your foot and transfer weight away from the metatarsal bones to relieve pinched nerves.SHOP NOW
FAQs about Ball of Foot Pain & Metatarsalgia
Have a question about what causes pain in the ball of your foot or other available treatment options? These frequently asked questions about metatarsalgia provide more information about the condition and how PowerStep insoles can help you get back to living a life without foot pain.
Metatarsalgia - Symptoms and causes. (2019). Mayo Clinic.
Foot hurts when walking: Causes, treatment, and diagnosis. (2020, April 1). www.medicalnewstoday.com.
Metatarsalgia (Pain in the Ball of Your Foot) | Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Cleveland Clinic.