The Northeast is still recovering from blizzard Nemo, but in Florida February is the start to beautiful weather. Many runners are starting the race seasonby training hard and putting many miles on their sneakers. As with a more intense training schedule common ball of foot pain can rear its ugly head. If these pains include a sharp burning or discomfort in the ball of your foot and get worse when you stand or walk, you may be experiencing metatarsalgia.
Metatarsalgia can include a wide range of pains focusing around the area between your arch and your toes. Folks often incorrectly refer to these symptoms as a “stone bruise.” You may have a tingling or numbness in your toes, or a pain that seems to spread from the ball of your foot into your toes. This can be caused by a variety of factors from the wrong footwear, to putting excess stress or weight on the metatarsals, as well as either an increased or strenuous activity schedule. This causes inflammation and pain most commonly around the ball at the base of the first and second toes although others may also be involved. Other risk factors include high arch, hammertoe, bunion, excess body weight, stress fractures and Morton’s neuroma.
This condition, though it can be extremely painful, is generally not serious and easy to treat. Untreated, the pain can negatively affect many activities due to the increased pain when walking, and can lead to more serious pains in your knees, hips, and back. To rule out more serious reasons for the pain, you should be seen by a podiatrist who can confirm the diagnosis as well as discuss the treatment options.
Treatments vary depending on the severity and the individuals activity level and original cause of the condition. Significant pain relief can be obtained by many by resting and icing the painful area, and ensuring a proper fitting shoe. Many continue pain free with the assistance of custom orthotics, arch supports, or insoles. For more severe and persistent pains that are not relieved by conservative therapy, surgery may be required for resolution.