What is Metatarsalgia ?

Metatarsalgia is a general term referring to a burning pain or numbness across the ball of the foot and toes. It’s also called “hot foot”. Severe cases can feel like someone is holding a blowtorch to the ball of your foot. The condition is often a result of shoes that are too narrow. It’s also caused when the arch across the ball of the foot has collapses, causing the nerves that travel between the toes to become squeezed.

Metatarsalgia is common for bicyclists. It occurs most often on long rides and may develop more quickly or intensely on hilly courses because climbs cause greater pedaling pressure. The pain results when nerves are squeezed between the heads of each foot’s five long metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot just behind the toes.

Treatment for metatarsalgia may include:

  • Rest and activity modification: Reducing or avoiding activities that exacerbate the pain, and allowing the foot to rest and heal can be helpful.
  • Ice and anti-inflammatory medication: Applying ice and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Proper footwear: Wearing shoes that provide proper support, cushioning, and have a wide toe box can help alleviate pressure on the metatarsals.
  • Adjust shoe straps. Tighten the top strap nearest your ankle to help stop your feet from slipping around in your shoes.
  • Wear thinner socks. This will give your feet more room and is especially helpful if your shoes are on the snug side.
  • Buy orthotic shoes. Look for a model with a wider-and-higher toe box and a stiffer sole and footbed with a metatarsal button.
  • Custom orthotics. Custom orthotics are fit specifically to your feet with built-in metatarsal buttons. Be sure to order orthotics shoes designed specifically for your activity needs.

Take an advantage of Foot Dynamics free tele-consulting.

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