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What is Metatarsalgia? Learn more about this condition


Metatarsalgia is an overuse condition in which the ball of the foot becomes painful and inflamed. It is a broad term used to describe pain or discomfort in the forefoot.  The term originates from the medical terms metatarsals (long bones of the foot) and algos (the Greek word meaning pain).

The metatarsal bone design equally shares a person’s weight during walking and daily activities. When you disrupt this delicate balance between bones, the result can be mild to intense foot pain, plus ultimately foot deformity. The term metatarsalgia refers to the number of problems people can experience in this area.

Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

The primary symptom of metatarsalgia is pain at the distal end of metatarsal bone/s (the ball of the foot).  Symptoms can include:

  • Aching and burning in the forefoot or at the ball of the foot. This can increase during exercise and remain after activity.
  • Pain that increases with exercise or flexion of the toes and is particularly worse with flexible shoes or barefoot.
  • Sharp or shooting pain through the forefoot and into the toes

Causes Of Metatarsalgia

As metatarsalgia is a broad term describing pain in the forefoot, there may be many sources of pain in this region. Your podiatrist will perform a thorough physical examination to determine the structures involved and identify the source of your pain.

Metatarsalgia may be related to:

Contributing factors may include:

  • Increasing the intensity or duration of physical activity in a manner that your body is not accustomed
  • Foot structure and function – the shape of our bones and joints, as well the way they move, can contribute to altered loading in the forefoot
  • Footwear – poorly fitting footwear (too narrow through the forefoot) or footwear that is worn out can also alter loading through the forefoot.
Are you suffering from this condition? One of our podiatrist can assist and then recommend what treatment options are best to get you back on track.
Schedule an appointment here or you may call us at 44 (0) 207 101 4000. 📞



We hope you have a feetastic day! 👣☀️

-The Chelsea Clinic and Team



Check our latest blog about Hallux Limitus here

Read our blog about Plantar Plate Injury here

Check our blog about Heel Pain here

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