Ball of the Foot Pain
Do You Have Sharp Pain in the Ball of Foot? [Causes & Best Treatment]
Sharp pain in the ball of the foot is caused 95% of the time by a condition called metatarsalgia. This is caused by overload to the ball of your foot, leading to nerve compression and pain.
- 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!
Overview of Sharp Pain in the Ball of your Foot:
- This is usually due to a tight calf, ankle or hamstring muscle.
- This places a large amount of pressure on the front of your foot.
- This leads to bruising and significant pain to your nerves.
- These nerves then lead to sharp & shooting pain.
Symptoms of sharp pain in the ball of your foot include:
- Sharp & shooting pain.
Causes of sharp pain:
- There are many different causes of sharp pain as well as shooting and tingling pain in the ball.
- Look at the below causes to see what is most likely to be causing your pain.
- Metatarsalgia is the generalized ball of the foot pain.
- This means that there is too much pressure on the front of your foot.
- The bones the tendons the nerves in the tissue surrounding the site could all get bruised up.
- This is one of the most common causes of ball of the foot pain that we see.
- Click on the link to see how to take care of this common problem!
- A Morton’s neuroma is the irritation of nerves in the ball of the foot.
- This can result in sharp, shooting and tingling pain.
- This is also a very common condition, it can feel as though if your foot is clicking and popping by the third and fourth toe.
- You can also feel like you have a bunched up sock and the ball of the foot.
- Capsulitis in the ball the foot is due to the ligaments and tendons getting irritated in the foot.
- This is very common around the second and the third toe joints.
- These are the longest metatarsal bones in your foot, and if there is tightness through the ankle and increase pressure on the foot, these tendons can very easily get agitated.
- Click on the above link to find out how to treat this very common condition.
- Ball of the foot pressure can frequently result in bruising.
- This can result in calluses corns and pressure buildup.
- This is a very common injury, click on the above link to see how to take care of this very important problem.
- The planter plate is a ligament that holds the metatarsal phalangeal joints together.
- This is a very important ligament as it has to support your body weight prevent your toes from coming apart.
- If this starts to tear, become inflamed or injured, it can cause you significant pain.
- This is a very common problem with solutions available.
Diagnosis of sharp pain:
- A podiatrist can help you diagnose the sharp pain in the ball of your foot.
We can use these modalities to help:
If you are someone reasonably healthy that spends a good amount of time on their feet.
Consider the following causes.
This is less of a sharp shooting pain, but more of a slow aching pain. This does not cause nerve irritation and is probably not what is causing sharp pain in the ball of the foot.
This can very commonly result in sharp pain in the ball of the foot. Although it has a crazy name it is just the general inflammation and irritation of the ball of the foot leading to diffuse nerve irritation in the area.
This is one of the most common causes of sharp pain in the ball of the foot. This is especially felt in between the 3rd and the 4th toes 80% of the time, as well as the 2nd and the 3rd toes 20% of the time.
This is more of a slow and gradual pain than a sharp shooting pain.
This is more of a slow aching pain at the big toe.
This is a loose and clicking feeling in the 2nd toe.
- Metatarsal Overload Syndrome.
- Turf Toe.
- Broken Toe.
- Foot Corns.
- Foot Blisters.
- Callus Foot Pain.
- Foot Arthritis
- Tailors bunion.
- Cavus Foot.
- Jones Fracture.
- Peroneal Tendinitis.
Middle of the Foot:
- The Entire Bottom of the Foot.
- Plantar Fasciitis.
- Plantar Fascia Strain.
- Midtarsal Joint Sprain.
- Flexor Tendinitis.
- Flat Foot .
For more on the Sharp Pain in the Ball of Foot:
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