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Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a condition that refers to pain in the metatarsal bones. The metatarsals are the long bones deep in the foot just before the toes. If you are having pain on the bottom of the foot, at the “ball” area of the foot you might be experiencing this condition. Metatarsalgia, specifically refers to pain along the shaft and heads of these bones can be a symptom of several different conditions. Most commonly, pain in the metatarsals can be the sign of a “stress reaction”. This is essentially swelling within the medullary bone caused by excessive stress and load on the metatarsal. Typically, this will come before a stress fracture. Also, this condition is seen in relation to another condition called hypermobility or 1st ray insufficiency. This is a condition where the big toe joint cannot sufficiently stabilize itself during gait and body weight is transferred abnormally over the to the other metatarsals, most commonly, the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals.

Most times this condition can be treated effectively and quickly with several non-surgical options. The aim of treatment if to essentially correct the biomechanics of the foot in order to properly distribute your body weight during gait and remove excessive stress from the metatarsals. This is achieved in most cases with a custom made insert for your shoes. In the most extreme and severe cases a small surgical procedure can be most beneficial. X-rays are often very helpful to identify the focus of the faulty mechanics and make sure you do not in fact have a fracture. This condition can also be mistaken for Freigberg’s necrosis, or a Neuroma or capsulitis and only a thorough examination from your podiatrist will identify the correct diagnosis and best treatment plan.

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