It can be frustrating that staying active and participating in sports as a means of healthy living sometimes comes with the risk of injury. Don’t miss out on the benefits of regular exercise because of that! Conditions like metatarsalgia are often treated with conservative care and can be prevented with some easy steps.
Pain in the Ball of Your Foot Explained
If you regularly participate in high-impact physical activities that involve jumping and running, it is possible that will experience forefoot pain at some point. When it strikes, you will often have inflammation at the same time. This often happens in a gradual onset over the course of several months, unlike other conditions that result in intense pain at the time of the injury. The pain will typically sideline you from favorite activities for a little while, but this is not a particularly serious condition.
Whereas physical activity is certainly a contributing factor to the injury, it can also be caused from footwear. Shoes that do not fit properly, athletic footwear that lacks adequate cushioning and arch support, and high heels can all contribute to the development of metatarsalgia. High heels, in particular, put the feet at risk by placing excessive force and pressure on the front of the foot, instead of having it evenly distributed as intended.
Certain structural abnormalities and conditions can make it more likely for someone to develop pain in the forefoot area. These include such situations as a short first metatarsal bone, a hammertoe deformity, or even high, rigid foot arches. Individuals afflicted by gout or rheumatoid arthritis are also at a greater risk for experiencing ball of foot pain as a result of this condition.
Getting Back in the Game
Treatment for metatarsalgia starts with taking a break from high-impact physical activities. There is a decent chance this is what led to the condition in the first place, but even if not, it is still imperative to give the body time to begin the healing processes. If you want to stay active to maintain your physical conditioning, consider using low-impact activities like swimming and bicycling to provide great workouts that don’t place excessive force on the feet.
In addition to resting and activity modification, icing is another treatment method that will reduce levels of pain and inflammation. Most cases benefit from 20 minute icing sessions used a couple of times thorough the day, but make sure to wrap the ice or ice pack in a thin towel to protect your skin.
Over-the-counter pain relievers may be beneficial. Be sure to check with our office for the right type and dosage recommendations first, though.
Preventing Metatarsalgia in the First Place
Prevention methods for this injury start, as they often do, with choosing the right footwear. It is important to ensure that you are wearing shoes that are appropriate for the activity you do. If you enjoy playing basketball, pick up a pair of basketball shoes. If you are a runner, well-constructed running shoes that fit appropriately are a must-have.
As important as wearing activity-appropriate footwear is having ones that fit well and offer sufficient support and cushioning. Models that feature rocker soles and wide toe boxes can be used to ensure that weight is properly distributed on the feet, which will make the condition less likely. High heels are not known for their support and cushioning, so make sure they are worn sparingly.
One more step you should consider to prevent not only this condition but also a host of others, is bringing and/or keeping your bodyweight in the healthy range for your height. This makes sense, as it keeps excessive pressure from being placed on the forefoot. Of course, if you want to take up running to shed some pounds, be sure to ease into the activity gradually. Trying to do too much when you start puts you at risk for injury.
Richardson, TX Foot and Ankle Care
Metatarsalgia is one of the many conditions that we treat for our patients here at Richardson Podiatry Associates. Whenever you are suffering from foot or ankle pain, contact our Richardson, TX office. You can schedule your appointment online or give us a call at (972) 690-5374.