Forefoot Pain- Metatarsalgia?

We all place tremendous amounts of force on our lower limbs, with every step the foot endures forces up to twice your body weight!

There are many areas in the foot where potential problems can arise, including the forefoot. In some cases, you might start to notice pain in the front, under the ball of the foot right behind where your toes connect. At other times, the problem could be directly under or in the main joint of the the big toe.

No matter the core issue, forefoot pain is something that can stop you from walking and enjoying an active lifestyle. Therefore something that needs to be addressed.

The Many Causes of Forefoot Pain

When we discuss the forefoot, we are talking about everything from the arch of your foot forward to the ends of your toes. This particular area is responsible for not only supporting your weight when you stand, but also for pushing off the ground to propel you forward when you walk.

Pain can develop in any part of the forefoot; metatarsal bones, the joints in the ball of your foot, or even your toes themselves.

Here are a few of the most common issues that cause pain in the forefoot:

  • Arthritis– Inflammation and damage in your joints can make using them quite painful. You can develop arthritis in any of your forefoot joints, though hallux rigidus in the big toe is a common example.
  • Bunions– This condition creates a large bulge on the side of your foot where your big toe meets the ball of your foot. It can be quite uncomfortable and make wearing some shoes difficult. If left unaddressed surgery is the only option.
  • Metatarsalgia– This is a general issue with pain in the ball of your foot and actually describes symptoms, which can be related to other conditions. Typically, you experience pain and inflammation with pressure.
  • Morton’s Neuroma– Nerves between two metatarsal bones can become pinched and aggravated. The nerve tissue then swells and misfires painfully, creating burning, tingling, and numbness between two toes.
  • Sesamoiditis– This is a problem with inflammation around the little sesamoid bones under your big toe. It can lead to pain and toe weakness when you put weight on your foot.
  • Stress Fractures– Repetitive, hard impacts can lead to cracks in bone tissue. This is particularly common in your metatarsal bones.
  • Ingrown Toe Nails– Toe nails can bend in and dig into the toe causing severe pain and even infection!


What to Do When Pain Strikes

Unfortunately forefoot pain doesn’t simply get better by hoping it will improve while you continue to perform normal activities. You need to take measures to identify the specific condition responsible for the problem, and then have the issue treated.

Our team of expert Musculoskeletal Podiatrists at Podiatry First, Bondi Junction and Sydney CBD use a variety of diagnostic tests in a comprehensive biomechanical assessment consult to determine the cause of your discomfort. From there we will help you implement a comprehensive and proven treatment plan designed to meet your unique needs.

Naturally, treatment will vary depending on the condition, but it can include options like shoe changes, custom moulded orthotics and changing movement patterns through addressing tight muscles etc.

Treatment options like icing, strapping, a program of muscle and fascia stretches may be prescribed or shockwave therapy may be required to aid in healing the injured area quickly.

Taking Preventative Measures

Even better than dealing with pain and discomfort from forefoot conditions is preventing them from happening in the first place.

You can actually do quite a bit to help prevent conditions that cause forefoot pain. Wearing shoes with low heels and appropriate arch support is one way. Sticking to styles that don’t squeeze or pinch your foot or toes is also important. Conditioning your feet to handle your activities can help prevent a number of issues as well. If you do start noticing discomfort, don’t ignore the problem—take care of it right away before anything gets worse.

Pain in the front of your foot can have many sources, but it can also have many solutions. They key is to take care of the problem now, before it has a chance to progress.

Our team expert team of Musculoskeletal Podiatrists is here to help you not only accurately diagnose the source of your discomfort but also work with you every step of the way to eliminate it.

Don’t settle for pain—take back your life!


Contact our clinic in Bondi junction or Sydney CBD to let us help you get back to normal by CLICKING HERE.


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