Metatarsalgia, or inflammation in the ball of the foot, is an injury that is most commonly due to several factors, such as:

  • Excessive weight
  • Stress fractures
  • Vigorous training
  • Poorly fitting shoes
  • The shape of the foot
  • Morton’s neuroma


This condition occurs in the region between the arch and toes and can develop within anyone. Unfortunately, one or more of the above factors can put some people at higher risk of developing inflammation in the ball of the foot.

Typically, metatarsalgia occurs from increased pressure on the metatarsal heads. 

Symptoms of metatarsalgia

Most common symptoms of metatarsalgia include:

  • Pain in the ball of the foot that impacts the normal walk
  • Tingling/numbness of the toes
  •  Pain during running
  • Acute pain in the toes that worsens with movement
  • Feeling like the toe is bruised

If any of these conditions are present in the patient, X-rays should be immediately performed, in addition to analysis of patient’s medical history and physical exam.

Treatment of metatarsalgia

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the injury, and they range from orthotics designed to relieve pain, NSAIDs, stretching, to surgery. The most common procedure for relief is an osteotomy to shorten the metatarsal responsible for the unfavorable weight distribution.