Causes of Ball of Foot Pain
From the outside, the balls of the feet don’t look like they’d be all that complicated. Underneath that fatty pad of cushioning at the front of your foot, however, there’s a lot going on. Metatarsal bones, sesamoid bones, nerves, blood vessels, muscles, tendons. In short, it’s a lot more complex than you might think, and a fair number of things could go wrong.
Below are just a handful of the kinds of injuries, conditions, and risk factors that can contribute to pain in this region of the foot:
- Overuse. Athletes, dancers, and people who spend a lot of time on their feet for various reasons are prone to developing ball of foot pain.
- Poor footwear. Shoes that pinch toes and/or hoist heels high in the air are especially risky.
- Foot structure. Higher-than-normal arches or longer-than-normal second metatarsal bones (the long midfoot bone that connects to your second toe) can put extra stress on the balls of the feet. More serious deformities, like bunions and hammertoes, may also be to blame.
- Obesity. The more weight you carry, the greater the force transferred to feet when you stand and walk.
- Fat pad atrophy. The fatty pad that normally cushions the forefoot may thin out with age or due to other factors.
- Nerve problems. Pinched nerves (also known as nerve entrapment) may cause burning or tingling pain in the balls of the feet and toes. Swollen nerve tissue (neuromas) may also press on the nerve, causing pain and a sensation akin to standing on a pebble.
- Stress fractures. Normally the soft tissues of your feet do most of the work of cushioning your steps. However, when they are worn out or tired, the bones have to shoulder more of the load, and hairline cracks may develop.
Ball of foot pain that causes distress, keeps you from activities, or lasts longer than few days is a signal that something needs to change. At Dallas Podiatry Works, our team can help you troubleshoot the specific causes of your pain and provide effective treatment remedies. Give us a call at (972) 566-7474 to set up an appointment with one of our specialists.
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