Metatarsalgia is a painful inflammatory injury of the forefoot (often the metatarsal) from overuse. Also known as a stone bruise, metatarsalgia can sometimes feel as if you’re stepping on a stone. It’s common in athletes and those who enjoy the very active lifestyles of running, climbing, and hiking.

What Causes Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is usually caused by a combination of several factors. Some of these factors are:

  • Old age
  • Stress Fractures
  • Morton’s neuroma, which is a painful-tingling growth of hard tissue on the ball of the foot
  • Intense activity & training
  • A high foot arch
  • A second toe longer than the big toe
  • Foot deformities such as hammertoe & bunions
  • Overweight & obesity
  • Improper weight distribution on the foot
  • Shoes lacking support & padding
  • Shoes with a narrow toe box
  • Nerve irritation

What are symptoms of metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia can be identified by a number of symptoms. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Numbness & tingling of the toes
  • Increased pain when on hard surfaces (asphalt, tile, etc.)
  • Stinging in the toes
  • Feeling as if your stepping on a stone (stone bruise)
  • Forefoot pain when you walk, run, or exercise
  • Worsening pain when walking barefoot
  • Inflammation & jabbing pain in the ball of your foot
  • Drifting or contracture of the toes

What to Do for Metatarsalgia: Care & Treatment

With most cases of metatarsalgia, our podiatrists will assign simple treatments and care such as:

  • Icing several times a day
  • Taking Anti-inflammatories
  • Resting & keeping foot elevated
  • Wearing better fitting shoes
  • Using orthotics or arch supports
  • Ankle & Achilles tendon stretches

In more serious stages of metatarsalgia we may recommend steroid injections to minimize pain and inflammation, or foot surgery if our other treatments were not effective.

In some cases our podiatrists may have an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound scan done to check for bone fractures, or order blood work to test for other conditions often associated with metatarsalgia – like arthritis, gout, and diabetes.

If you believe you are suffering from metatarsalgia or a similar ailment you should see one of our podiatric specialists right away.

If you’d like to learn more about metatarsalgia, or simply have your feet assed and properly treated, contact us today to schedule an appointment at the Advanced Foot and Ankle clinic nearest you.