Metatarsalgia typically refers to pain under the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia occurs when one or more of the metatarsal joints become inflamed. The pain is usually worse when standing or walking and the pain usually subsides when resting. Anyone can suffer from metatarsalgia, however, people who are on their feet are more prone to developing the condition. Often callus will also develop in the area.
Metatarsalgia can be caused in a number of different ways. Overuse, injury, and footwear can sometimes cause metatarsalgia to develop. Changes to the structure of the foot, such as dropped metatarsal arches or high arches, can also contribute to the development of metatarsalgia.
Treatment for the pain and inflammation associated with metatarsalgia will depend on the underlying cause. If the cause is due to external factors such footwear, the solution can be as simple as changing the kind of shoe you wear. If metatarsalgia develops due to overuse, injury, or the anatomy of your foot, anti-inflammatory treatments (ultrasound, medications, cortisone) can help reduce the inflammation and pain and custom orthotics may be recommended to properly support the foot.