Metatarsalgia is, quite literally, ball-of-foot-pain.  It is a common disorder that occurs over time involving pain and inflammation in the bones and joints at the ball of the foot. 


Metatarsalgia is an overuse injury that occurs when there is a forced change in or threat to the normal mechanics of the foot.  The resulting stress leads to pain-causing irritation and inflammation.


The most common symptom of metatarsalgia is localized pain on the ball of the foot at the end of one or more metatarsal bones.  The pain may be more prevalent during weight-bearing activities and may increase when the toes are flexed.  There may also be sharp, shooting pains as well as tingling or numbness in the toes.


Since there are many reasons for foot pain, Dr. Burmeister will conduct a thorough evaluation before making his diagnosis.  X-rays, bone scans, ultrasound, and/or MRIs can help in identifying the conditions that can cause ball-of-foot pain.


As with any condition, treatment for metatarsalgia is dependent on determining the cause or causes.  Initial treatment may include icing, application of a pressure bandage, not putting weight on the foot.  Subsequent treatment may include ultrasound, metatarsal pads, orthotic devices, footwear changes, stretching and strengthening exercises, physical therapy, recreational therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications.  In severe instances, surgery may be necessary in order to realign the metatarsal bones.


There are a number of measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of metatarsalgia happening in the first place.  Essential to the prevention of metatarsalgia are the following:

  • Choose properly fitting shoes that are activity-appropriate.
  • Eat a well-rounded diet to prevent nutritional deficiencies that lead to bone loss.
  • Lose weight/Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Practice proper callus care.
  • Warm up and stretch before participating in athletics.
  • Gradually increase levels of activity.
  • When an activity becomes painful, STOP!


If you experience the symptoms of metatarsalgia, Dr. Jeffrey Burmeister, DPM, and his experienced staff are ready to fully diagnose, treat, and see you on your way to pain-free living.  Schedule an appointment by calling (904) 765-8889 or by completing an online appointment request Here.