Ball of the Foot Pain
Feet Feel Like Socks are Bunched Up [Causes & Best Home Treatment]
If your Feet Feel Like Socks are Bunched Up, 80+% of the time this is a condition called Morton’s Neuroma. Use our 90% successful treatment guide.
- Ball of the foot pain can be improved with a few simple treatment changes.
- We are foot doctors & we see this problem get better almost every day.
- The goal is to solve this problem without medication or surgery if at all possible.
So, let’s GO!
- Metatarsalgia: which means generalized foot pain without a specific cause.
- Second toe capsulitis: this is the inflammation of the second toe joint capsule.
- Capsulitis is related to hammertoe formation, and can lead to a plantar plate tear. There is some overlap between these three disorders. As they get worse tearing and ligament damage can occur.
- Morton’s neuroma: this is the damage and inflammation to the nerves between and underneath the metatarsal joints.
- Fat pad atrophy of the ball of the foot: this is the loss of cushioning in the ball the foot.
So, click on the photo gallery to see the specific causes of your ball of the foot pain!
Click on the photo gallery to see the specific causes of your ball of the foot pain!
- If your Feet Feel Like Socks are Bunched Up, but they are not, keep reading!
- This is very similar to what most people say about a condition known as Morton’s Neuralgia or Neuroma which usually occurs at the base of the 3rd and 4th toes.
- This is an extremely well documented and reported condition which results when the nerves that run between the joints at the base of your toes becomes irritated for one of many reasons.
Do your feet feel like the socks are bunched or scrunched up?
- This type of feeling especially when combined with sharp, shooting or is most commonly Morton neuroma.
- This usually develops due to a sore nerve in the front of your foot.
What is a Morton’s Neuroma?
- Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of the nerve tissue. It’s not always just in your foot, but it is most commonly in the foot.
- This Morton neuroma usually develops in between the metatarsals of the feet. This area is known as the ball of your foot. This can then lead to abnormal nerve sensations. This can lead to your foot feeling like the socks are bunched up, or scrunched up.
- It is the thickening of the nerve that defines the neuroma. It is the result of compression and irritation of the nerve. The constant irritation compression creates enlargement of the nerve, and this can lead to eventual permanent damage.
Causes of Morton’s Neuroma?
The most common causes of an inter metatarsal neuroma are listed below:
- One of the most common causes is tight and tapered shoes in the front.
- High-heeled shoes.
- Narrow toe box.
- Very little padding in the front of your toolbox.
- It is more common with certain foot deformities: bunions, hammer toes, and a flatfoot.
- It is also more common in people who run in every competitive activities: such as long-distance running or sports on hard surfaces.
Symptoms at the Toes or Foot:
- Pain while walking or running.
- Occurs after a short time, especially in people with flat foot.
- Feels like a pebble in your shoe.
- Feels like your socks are bunched up.
- Burning, numbness and tingling.
- Can feel like walking on razor blades.
- Classify this with the Mulder’s Click Test.
Symptoms of a inter metatarsal neuroma:
Early signs of nerve irritation and compression include:
- Significant pain, which does seem out of proportion.
- Strange sensations such as bunching up of the socks in the foot.
- Scrunched up or bunched up sock like feeling.
- Sharp shooting or zapping pain.
- Tingling burning or numbness.
- It feels like there is a rock or something trapped in the front of your shoe.
Most common sports associated with the neuroma in the foot:
The most common sports associated with an inter metatarsal neuroma are:
- Long-distance running. Long-distance walking.
- Hard surface sports such as racquetball, tennis or basketball.
- Anything with repetitive long-distance running or jumping.
- It is less common in grass sports such as soccer or football.
- This is not something that we would recommend doing at home, but a doctor can help you with this.
- If you do have severe pain that is really preventing you from doing anything, this may be an option in the right circumstances.
- Anti-inflammatory medications could be good, but we do not recommend this as a long-term solution.
- Focus on the orthotics in the shoes.
When is surgery a good option? 95% of the time is is not!
- If you have tried all the above stuff, and a couple months have gone by and you have not started to improve at all, then further and imaging like an ultrasound, x-ray or MRI might make sense.
- If you have long-term permanent damage to the nerve, especially if it has been going on for over 6 to 12 months, then you may need surgery.
- Morton neuroma surgery has its benefits, but any type of surgery may have its negatives.
Other Causes of Ball of the Foot Pain:
- If it doesn’t sound like you have Morton’s neuroma, consider metatarsalgia or ball of the foot pain.
- This video will help you diagnose your pain.
Consider a Plantar Plate Injury:
Another injury that could be the cause of your pain is a plantar plate injury.
Ball of the Foot Pain Treatment Infographic:
Ball of the Foot Home Treatment:
- Consider taping, orthotics and great shoes as a combination to fix your foot problem.
- Products are not always necessary to fix your problem.
- The key is correcting the biomechanics that are leading to forefoot overload. Foot overload means too much pressure in the ball of the foot.
- Generally something called ankle joint equinus can lead to a too much pressure in the ball of your foot. This means your ankle is not flexible enough to move up and down.
- Ball of the foot pain treatment consists of two phases, first is control inflammation, next is to control bio-mechanics.
Remove Control Inflammation:
Massage & Ice Products:
- The metal ball is one of my personal favorites.
- This works great for your arch, less for the ball of the foot.
- These can help relax the arch or heel ligaments, leading to less pressure in the ball of the foot.
- Pills, creams and ice will never completely fix your problem alone. What they will do is reduce the pressure on the area.
Menthol Based Gels:
- Biofreeze is one of our favorites.
- These gels have been studied to work 2x as long as ice.
- This works great for the ball of the foot.
- Consider using these as options when resting on the couch or going to sleep at night.
- These can work great for loosening your muscles.
- This is means for your hamstring and calf muscles. This can loosen the ankle tightness putting pressure on the ball of your foot.
- This allows less tightness and pressure on the ball of your foot.
Ball of the Foot Stress Relief.
- The key is to prevent future pain.
- If you can get rid of the pain and swelling, this will let you start walking normally.
- If you can walk normally, the vast majority of your pain should gradually start to go away.
- This means proper cushion, proper stability and pressure relief from the front of your foot.
- This will relieve pressure from your big toe, your 2nd toe, your Morton’s neuroma, your plantar plate, hammer toes and joint capsules.
Best Metatarsalgia Shoes:
- Getting a great supportive pair of shoes will make sure that there is pressure removed from the ball of your foot.
- This is especially important if you have a metatarsalgia, a Morton’s neuroma, 2nd metatarsal overload syndrome and capsulitis!
- Consider shoes combined with a good supportive orthotic for best pain relief!
- The following link will show you what our favorites are.
Best Ball of the Foot Insoles:
- These are our recommended orthotics & insoles.
- There are different types for different shoes.
- Women’s shoes usually need a less bulky orthotic, but allow for less correction.
- A full length orthotic requires a running shoe, boot or comfortable walking/dress shoe.
Best Full Length Orthotics:
- Full length orthotics are the most recommended type for ball of the foot pain.
- Be aware that if they are too uncomfortable, it might be worth starting with a less corrective pair.
- Eventually you can then work your way up to these.
Best Dress Shoe Orthotics:
- These are a stronger option for shoes with tight dress shoes.
- Just be aware that less corrective orthotics & tight shoes are usually not a good combination.
Best 3/4 Length Orthotics:
- These may be a good option for ball of the foot if the full length orthotics are too tight or too uncomfortable.
Get A Great Dynamic Stretch:
- It is possible to stretch on your own, but these products can also really help!
- Personally I have the stationary block set up in my kitchen to stretch every day multiple times while getting my coffee!
- This will take pressure off of the ball of your foot.
Ball of the Foot Pain