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Phone: (972) 566-7474
Dallas Podiatry Works

Ball of Foot Pain

The balls of your feet—those padded areas on the bottom of your feet between the toes and the arch—are surprisingly complex under the surface. Five long metatarsal bones occupy a tight space with a pair of sesamoid bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels. Considering how much stress and impact force this area of the foot must endure, pain is unsurprisingly common.

While temporary aches are fairly normal, persistent pain is a sign that something deeper is wrong and requires further examination and treatment. The bottom of a foot

Symptoms of Ball of Foot Pain

Pain in this region of the foot is also known as metatarsalgia, which is a “catch-all” term that covers the symptoms of many different types of conditions and injuries. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Pain that can be described as sharp, burning, aching, stabbing, or shooting
  • Symptoms worsen with activity and improve somewhat with rest
  • Tingling or numbness that extends into the toes
  • Feeling like you’re constantly standing on a small pebble or fold in your sock

The pain is usually centered near the base of the big toe—to be specific, around the head of the first long metatarsal bone. That’s because this is the part of the ball that handles the greatest amount of weight and force when you walk, run, and jump.

What Causes Ball of Foot Pain?

There are dozens of potential underlying factors and causes that could lead to metatarsalgia. When you come for your appointment, we’ll help you ascertain the most likely culprits. Some of the most common include:

How to Treat Ball of Foot Pain

If pain is severe, disrupting your activities, or lingers for longer than a week or so, you should make an appointment with the Dallas Podiatry Works team. An examination and discussion with your physician (using X-rays if necessary) will help reveal both treatment methods and prevention strategies that may be beneficial.

Most cases and causes of metatarsalgia can be corrected through conservative therapies, such as:

  • RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
  • Temporarily avoiding activities that cause spikes in pain
  • Physical therapy
  • Wearing more appropriate shoes
  • Using metatarsal pads, arch supports, taping or splinting the big toe, custom orthotics, or other inserts as necessary to relieve pain and pressure
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Injections

Occasionally, surgery may be required to correct an underlying structural problem, such as a bunion or flat feet, or to remove a neuroma. This will reduce the pressure on the balls of the feet to eliminate the pain.

Pain in the balls of the feet must be addressed if they are slowing you down. To begin your path to healing and recovery, call Dallas Podiatry Works at (972) 566-7474.


Dr. Joel W. Brook
Dr. Joel Brook is a board-certified podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Dallas Podiatry Works in TX.