Choosing Inserts for Flat Feet: A Podiatry Blog

Why You Should Never Ignore Pain in the Balls of Your Feet

Take a moment to consider the difference in how you walk when you're barefoot to how you walk in shoes, particularly rigid shoes. Women's feet can be constricted in high heels, just as men's feet can be in business shoes. Your gait is altered, and this can sometimes have a lasting effect on the wellbeing of your feet. Perhaps the most obvious sign of this effect is an unpleasant condition known as metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia occurs when the balls of your feet become painful and sometimes even swollen. If this is an infrequent occurrence, the condition can be alleviated overnight (since you're staying off your feet for a sufficient period of time). But if it happens on a regular basis, it can be bad news for the rest of your feet and your overall wellbeing. So what are the risks associated with metatarsalgia? And what can you do about it?

The Shoe Factor

Metatarsalgia can be largely cased due to the ongoing wearing of rigid shoes, but it can also be considered a sporting injury. Any sport where you're jumping, bobbing and weaving (such as basketball or netball) can place pressure on the balls of your feet, leading to occasional bouts of metatarsalgia. It's not as though you should give up sports, but it emphasises the importance of wearing correct shoes for the task. If the balls of your feet become painful after sports, it might be a simple case of buying sporting shoes that offer better support.


If you suffer from ongoing pain in the balls of your feet, ask your doctor for a referral to a podiatrist in your area. The balls of your feet are where a number of small joints and tendons connect (known as the metatarsals). It is known that ongoing metatarsalgia can cause some of these joints and tendons to misalign. If this is not corrected, it can even lead to joint deformities in other parts of your feet, namely your lesser toes (which are all your toes excluding the big toe).


A podiatrist will be able to assess the situation and see if any joint deformities are in the early stages of development. Surgical intervention is almost never necessary, as it's unlikely that the condition would have gone unreported for so long. The podiatrist might simply inject the affected area with a corticosteroid solution which will relieve any pain and will often allow the area to repair itself. It might also be suggested that you change the types of shoes you wear. An insole can also be specially made for you to wear in your rigid shoes, which will then ensure that undue pressure is not placed on the balls of your feet. This means the condition is unlikely to return.

Metatarsalgia is difficult to pronounce and difficult to live with. The balls of your feet go through a lot, so it's important to take care of them.