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Metatarsalgia  
metatarsalgia

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Definition  

Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the ball of your foot. You may also feel pain in the big toe or the three toes closest to the big toe.

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Causes  

Metatarsalgia can be caused by a number of conditions:

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Claw Toes  
claw toe

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Risk Factors  

Factors that increase your chance of developing metatarsalgia include:

  • Feet with high arches
  • Feet with abnormally long bones
  • Claw/ Hammer toes
  • High-impact sports
  • Being overweight
  • Wearing shoes that don’t fit well or high heels
  • Increased age—age-related atrophy of fat pad
  • Problems with circulation
  • Gout
  • Diabetes
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Symptoms  

Symptoms of metatarsalgia include:

  • Pain in the ball of the foot
  • Numbness or tingling in toes or foot
  • Pain when walking
  • Toe pain
  • Pain with movement
  • Sharp pain
  • Feeling like you are walking on pebbles
  • Associated back or leg pain
  • Weakness in the limb
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Diagnosis  

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist.

Images may need to be taken of your foot. This can be done with x-ray .

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Treatment  

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Rest  

Rest is an important part of treatment. Elevate your foot on pillows and ice it to speed healing.

Orthotics  

Your doctor may prescribe shoe inserts. They may help lessen pain and provide support. Your doctor may also recommend insoles. They may be shock absorbers, arch supporters, or special pads that protect your foot.

Medication  

A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) may be advised to reduce pain and inflammation. A corticosteroid shot is sometimes injected into the foot to lessen pain.

Surgery  

If there are foot problems that are causing the metatarsalgia, surgery may be recommended. The type of surgery depends upon what is causing the problem.

Diet and Exercise  

If excessive weight is contributing to the foot pain, you may be asked to lose weight through diet and exercise.

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Prevention  

To help reduce your chance of getting metatarsalgia, take the following steps: