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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.

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:

  • Structural problems with the feet, such as flat arches, bunions, hammertoes, or abnormally long metatarsal bones.
  • Participation in high-impact sports (running and jumping), dance, or occupations that require you to be on your feet constantly
  • Rapid increase in physical activity or change in training routine
  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes (especially high heels)
  • Development of stress fractures in the metatarsal bones
  • Formation of a neuroma (swollen nerve tissue) near the base of the toes
  • Inflammation or fracture of the sesamoids, small bones that act like pulleys for your big toe
  • Obesity

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.

RATED BEST DALLAS PODIATRIST FOR YOUR FOOT & ANKLE CARE NEEDS
"I did 3 EPAT treatments and it gave me tremendous relief from my plantar fasciitis. I highly recommend this for anyone who is dealing with PF. Also, the physical therapist Dr. Brook sent me too is fantastic. I am definitely on the mend and so glad I did EPAT."- All H. 5 star
"Dr Northcutt is a fantastic physician. My first surgery with him (although painful), went very well. A couple of issues (with his staff) needed to be corrected, I appreciated his calm and professional demeanor and he corrected those issues promptly. He sets the bar high (the mark of a great physician), and that is the key reason why I'm coming back to him to correct my other foot. I would highly recommend him."- She B. 5 star
"The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of care."- Joseph B. 5 star
"My experience was a good one from pre-op to post -op. I saw the doctor right before my surgery.He explained the process to me and my husband. The recovery nurse was great. It was neither crowded or chaotic as some day surgery centers. My foot is doing well as I follow instructions. I look forward to my one week progress visit!"- Patricia T.5 star
"I had dealt with a painful foot problem for five months and had seen three different Doctors before seeing an article in D Magazine about Dr. Joel Brook. Dr. Brook took one look at my foot, explained the causes for my pain and set me up on a successful treatment plan. He is very knowledgeable, thorough and exhibits a caring attitude. I highly recommend him."- Ginger W. 5 star
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Join the 50,000 happy feet that have found relief at Dallas Podiatry Works! Our Dallas podiatrist and Plano podiatrist provides 5-star-rated foot care and ankle care. Our advanced foot care includes children's foot care, sports-related foot injuries, bunion treatment, bunion removal surgery, toenail fungus treatment, ingrown toenail treatment, hammertoe treatment, claw toe treatment, neuroma treatment, heel pain relief, limb salvage, wound care, arthritis treatment, safe pedicure, medicures, corn removals, callus removals, wart removals and more.
Come experience Dallas Podiatry Works of Dallas, TX and Plano, TX! You will see for yourself that our podiatrists, foot doctors and foot specialists provide 5-star-rated foot care in Dallas TX, Plano TX, Frisco TX, McKinney TX, Richardson TX, Garland TX, Rockwall TX, Allen TX, Arlington TX and Fort Worth TX. Call 972.566.7474 today.
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