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.
Having the proper footwear can make all the difference in the comfort of your feet. Here are several options you can try to put out the flames:
- 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.
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