When it comes to diagnosing foot pain, “where does it hurt?” is only the beginning.
Take pain in the balls of your feet, for example. (For those that don’t know, the ball of the foot is the padded part at the front between the toes and the arch.) A lot of different situations and medical conditions can lead to pain in this region of the foot, so to get you the best treatment strategy we need to dig a little deeper.
Here are just some of the common causes and underlying contributing factors of ball of foot pain, also known as metatarsalgia. (It’s worth pointing out that you could have more than one present at a time, too):
- Athletic overuse. Runners are prime candidates for pain since they put a lot of weight and force on the balls of their feet. However, anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, especially if they’re also engaging in vigorous, high-impact activity, is susceptible. Overuse can lead to bruising, tearing, or swelling in the soft tissues, or can even cause tiny cracks known as stress fractures to form in the metatarsal bones.
- Foot shape, structure, and deformity. Structural problems can cause ball of foot pain on their own, or lead to pain indirectly by naturally shifting extra weight onto metatarsal bones in the front of the feet. Flat feet, an unusually long second metatarsal bone, bunions, hammertoes, or rheumatoid arthritis are all examples of foot shape and structure variations that can lead to pain.
- Bad shoes. Blown-out running shoes that have lost their support, high heels that throw all your weight toward your toes, and shoes that just plain don’t fit can add pain and stress to the ball of foot area.
- Neuroma. In this condition, soft tissues surrounding a nerve (usually between the second and third or third and fourth toes) thicken, then push painfully on the nerve when you bear weight. It could be the result of overuse, or a specific traumatic injury.
At our office, we’ll conduct a full examination and speak with you about your symptoms, your lifestyle, and your concerns. That way, we can isolate the problems that are most prevalent and create a treatment plan that works.
To schedule your appointment with Advanced Foot & Ankle Specialists in either Gilbert or Chandler, AZ, please dial (480) 963-9000. You can also request an appointment at either location online.