Ball of the Foot Pain
Why Do My Socks Feel Like They are Bunching Up on the Ball of My Foot?
If you have ever wondered “why do my socks feel like they are bunching up on the ball of my foot”: The #1) cause is Morton’s Neuroma, but there are MORE!
- 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!
Top 6 Causes of Ball of the Foot Pain:
- This is inflammation of the joints in the ball of the foot.
- This presents as an aching pain that gets worse with increased standing and activity.
- This most commonly occurs at the second metatarsal phalangeal joint, it is due to overuse and injury to the capsule and tendons.
- This is generalized pain in the ball of the foot. This is due to biomechanics overloading the front of the foot.
- This is a term used to cover all of the ball of the foot problems.
- Treating this condition should make most of the ball of the foot problems feel better.
- This is an aching, burning and throbbing pain in between the 3rd and 4th MPJ joints.
- This can result secondary to a nerve impingement in the bulb foot.
- This is a very common problem that we see frequently.
- This pain appears runners or people who put a lot of pressure on there feet.
- This almost always happens after a period of inactivity, followed by heavy duty training or work for a few days or weeks.
- Stress fractures occur as there is too much pressure and repetitive loading of the metatarsal bones.
- This is a very common problem that can take 6 to 8 weeks to get better with the correct treatment.
- The planter plate is a structure that holds the bottom of the metatarsal phalangeal joints together.
- It is possible that this become stretched out in tears over time.
- This can eventually lead to crossover toes, especially the second toe crossing over the big toe.
- This causes pain at the bottom of the second metatarsal phalangeal joint, the third metatarsal phalangeal joint and the fourth metatarsal phalangeal joint most commonly.
- A hammertoe is the curvature or contractor of the toes.
- This happens due to an imbalance of the tendons anchoring into the toe.
- There are three types of hammer toes.
- These are called hammertoe, the claw toe, and the mallet toe.
- The most common cause of this occuring is a Morton’s neuroma.
- Nerve compression between your metatarsal heads.
- This can also feel like capsulitis of the 2nd, 3rd or 4th toes.
- Numbness, burning and tingling.
- You can especially feel this way while running.
- If you wear shoes with lifts you can feel this more.
- If you are more of a toe walker you can feel this more.
What are some alternative problems that could be causing this?
Morton Neuroma like pain can also be mimicked by:
- 2nd toe capsulitis.
- Stress fractures.
- Metatarsalgia through the foot.
- A cavus foot type can cause this type of pain frequently.
- Achilles tendinitis and a possible achilles contracture.
- Walking with heels can frequently put tightness on the front of your foot.
- Consider is biased but we are podiatrists and we believe we can perform the best treatment for you.
- The best way to diagnose Morton’s neuroma pain is to go see a podiatrist!
- Diagnosis initially starts with a comprehensive history and physical, and then a hands-on evaluation.
- This is then followed with x-ray imaging to diagnose any bone issues or amendments.
- This may then be followed with a potential ultrasound to visualize the Morton’s neuroma and make sure there are no underlying soft tissue or capsule issues.
- Once this comprehensive diagnosis of Morton’s aromas performed, on to treatment during your first visit.
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