There is many conditions effecting the ball of your foot or more technically known as the forefoot. The forefoot is a complex part of the foot and there are many different structures that could be affected causing your pain. As there is a wide range of conditions that could cause your pains and they are all treated differently it is important to get your pain assessed before deciding on a concrete treatment plan.
Some common forefoot conditions
- Bursitis – All over your body you have fluid filled sac call bursae, these can get inflamed generally due to repetitive overuse or trauma. The inflammation of these structures is known as bursitis and often causes pain, swelling and stiffness around a joint. In the foot bursitis on the ball of the foot under your second toe and between your metatarsals.
- Morton’s Neuroma – is a thickening of tissue surrounding the nerve running between your toes. Its mainly between the 3rd and 4th toe but can be found in all spaces. The neuroma can cause nerve pain in the ball of the foot and into the toes. This can feel like a burning, tingling numb sensation or also sharp shooting pain.
- Metatarsalgia – This is pain along the whole ball of the foot, it is related excessive running and jumping activities. The pain is often described as a bruised feeling.
- Capsulitis – This is inflammation of the ligaments that form a joint capsule. Its often in the 2nd toe and caused by repetitive trauma. Pain feels like a marble under your toe, it can be swollen and sore to move.
Risk factors for ball of foot pain.
- Activities with high impact, especially activities involving high amounts of jumping or forefoot loading.
- Excessively high arches – Increased arch height causes increased pressure on the forefoot
- Toe deformities – Lesser toe defomties such as hammer toes or clawed toes can lead to pain in the forefoot. Bunions also increase the load on the lesser toes and can be related to forefoot pain.
- Tight calves – Tight calves cause you to spend more time on the ball of the foot which increases peak pressure and risk of pain in the area
- High heels – For every cm your heel is you exponentially increase the pressure on the ball of your foot
What can we do to help?
Because of the diverse nature of the pain in the forefoot and the complexity of the structures a thorough assessment is required to both diagnose your conditions and subsequently find the underlying cause of the issue.
Depending on your condition your podiatrist may recommend chages in footwear, various padding or strapping to the foot, soft tissue treatments, exercises or more than likely orthotics to redistribute pressures from around your area of pain.
Words from one of our Podiatrist's,