Why Metatarsalgia Is So Devastating (And What You Can Do About It!)

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If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from metatarsalgia, you know just how devastating this condition can be. Metatarsalgia is a painful foot condition that affects the ball of your foot. Symptoms can include pain, inflammation, and numbness. In this article, we will discuss the causes of metatarsalgia and what you can do to alleviate your symptoms.

Severe Metatarsalgia

According to recent studies, almost 60% of asymptomatic patients showed indications on MRI that are compatible with Morton’s syndrome. During discomfort in the forefoot, they incorrectly mention this pathology.

This is why a thorough examination, rather than the assumption of symptoms, is required to establish a precise diagnosis. The typical complaint from the patient is a pain in the third intermetatarsal area, which usually feels like burning and frequently includes paresthesias or paresis of the third and fourth toes. The pain is preferential in the intermetatarsal region and absents in the metatarsal heads when palpated. Although classic metatarsalgia of another origin might be added to the picture and make the distinction more difficult, this characteristic is necessary.

Lastly, this condition can manifest itself in the second metatarsal space (second space syndrome). A diagnosis of exclusion, as well as any other etiology, must be ruled out.

What Causes Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most common one is an imbalance in weight distribution across part or all of the forefoot at the level of the five metatarsal heads. Any imbalance causes a change, resulting in an overload on one or more metatarsals.

Here are some of the issues that prompted you to seek help:

  • Metatarsal length is too short.
  • Have sagging or flat feet?
  • Have a hollow foot with metatarsal overuse
  • Due to a short Achilles tendon, you have limited ankle flexion.
  • Have you been diagnosed with hallux valgus?
  • The metatarsal joint hurts.
  • Metatarsals that are too lengthy (propulsive metatarsalgia related to an architectural anomaly of the forefoot).

The following are some of the things that can aggravate the situation:

  • Shoes that are too tight on the forefoot, have no sole or flexibility, or lack absorption could all contribute to this.
  • Wearing high heels, on the other hand, increases the pain’s onset.
  • Overweight and rapid or dramatic weight increase
  • Excessive and too quick exercise with repercussions (jogging or walking)

Ways to Prevent Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is difficult to avoid in some cases. Choose the appropriate footwear, however, by ensuring that:

  • A broad shoe or sandal with lots of room for your foot helps protect your foot from unwanted pressure.
  • The heel is slightly raised.
  • Solid and well-cushioned footwear
  • A nice sole that isn’t too thin, has a good heel and is wide enough.
  • They should replace their work boots and shoes every year.
  • Wear your orthotics daily if they have been prescribed for you.
  • If necessary, shed pounds.
  • Take careful notice and, as required, make adjustments to your working posture (keep your toes in hyperextension to avoid hyperextension).
  • Every 800-1000km run, replace your running shoes.

What You Can Do to Alleviate Metatarsalgia Symptoms

If you find yourself experiencing metatarsalgia, there are several things you can do to alleviate the pain. First and foremost, avoid any activities that may aggravate your symptoms. This means no high-impact exercise or sports until the pain goes away. You should also ice the affected area for 20 minutes at a time several times a day, and take over-the-counter pain medication as needed. If these methods don’t seem to be helping after a week or two, make an appointment with your doctor. 

They may recommend physical therapy or custom orthotics to help relieve your pain. Metatarsalgia is a frustrating condition, but with proper care and treatment, it doesn’t have to ruin your life.

  • Avoid aggravating activities to ease symptoms
  • Ice the area for 20 minutes a few times a day
  • Take over-the-counter medication as needed
  • Physical therapy and custom orthotics may help


Metatarsalgia, if left untreated, can lead to pain in other portions of the same or opposite foot, as well as pain in other parts of the body, such as the low back or hip, as a result of limping (altered gait) caused by foot pain.

The pain of metatarsalgia is not a distinct illness, but an asymptomatic indication of a variety of diseases. Their therapy, which must begin with conservatism, should focus on the source of the abnormality. If therapy fails, minimally invasive surgery, which has recently been expanded by adding low-incidence surgery, provides several options depending on a thorough diagnosis, itself dependent on careful clinical examination.

The study of these abnormalities is part of a biomechanical perspective on the foot’s statics and components.

Remember, The 3 Arches of Your Feet Still Need Support!

Maybe you have already felt the first symptoms of balance disorders or you want to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Consider getting a foot orthotic device or simply take care of your feet. Start by washing them thoroughly with a gentle soap whenever you take a shower. Being a very complex support system, your feet are your first line of defense against balance-related issues, since their arches provide you with the stability you need in your daily life. It’s time to put your foot down and push back against balance issues. With both feet on the ground, dedicate yourself to keeping them comfortable and healthy. Give us a call and we will scan your feet to make you custom orthotic inserts.

The Shoe Doctor has specialized in providing custom orthotics for 20 years. The right orthotic insoles can greatly reduce foot, knee, and hip pain while increasing performance and comfort. Russell at The Shoe Doctor will help educate and assist you in finding the perfect solution for your particular situation. We will create a 3D map of your feet and make custom orthotics for your hiking boots, everyday shoes, and everything else in between. These orthotics, along with our expert advice, will get you using orthotics like a pro, and have you performing at the peak of your abilities in no time!  If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, give The Shoe Doctor a call to get the best custom orthotics in the area! We are here to assist you, schedule your free consultation here!


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Russell Pate

Russell Pate

Russell has been a Certified Pedorthist for over 28 years.

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