Metatarsalgia is a very common overuse injury which in Latin translates as pain in the forefoot due to increased or repetitive stress or strain over the metatarsal head region.
Some of the reason people get metatarsalgia include inter digital neuroma, sesamoiditis, avascular necrosis, metatarsophalangeal synovitis and inflammatory arthritis. The above can be a separate diagnosis or part of the same pathology.
- The main feeling in metatarsalgia is pain at one or more of the metatarsal heads. (pain on the ball of the foot). Generalized forefoot pain and midfoot pain are common in athletes who play high impact sports that include jumping and running.
- Pain is usually made worse during the mid-stance or push-off phases of walking or running.
- A gradual slow onset is more common than a sudden or acute presentation. The foot pain symptoms may be of a gradually worsening type or between 3-6 months.
- Interdigital neuroma(commonly known as Morton’s Neuroma )produces symptoms of metatarsalgia due to inflammation and irritation of the nerve located in the web space between the metatarsal heads. Some patients can complain of toe numbness, as well as pain in the forefoot as it is actually an entrapment neuropathy.
Treatment with custom made orthotics to support the front of the foot will relieve the pain in 95% of people. The unlucky 5% or those that put up with the foot arch pain for too long may also require surgery to treat the damaged nerve.
If you’re living or working in Cottesloe, East Fremantle, Mosman Park and Fremantle we would love to help you!