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Mending your metatarsalgia

So you’ve got pain in your forefoot? Do you suffer from burning, aching or tingling in your toes? Do you experience numbness in the ball of your foot? Have you ever had a clicking feeling in your toes, or the sensation that your sock might be scrunched up?

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you may be suffering from problems which are grouped together under the heading metatarsalgia. This term refers to pain surrounding the five metatarsal bones in the area under your toes, and describes issues affecting your forefoot, the region between your arch and toes.

Although a range of foot problems come under the banner of metatarsalgia, the emergence of these problems can generally be traced back to factors which change the way your foot moves. When individuals gain a significant amount of weight, for example, the area of the foot which is responsible for cushioning begins to take strain. Similarly, wearing high heels or improperly fitting shoes affects the way your foot moves when walking, as do the presence of bunions or arthritis in your big toe.

You may experience metatarsalgia as sharp pains in the toes, or sensations of burning, aching or tingling in the area surrounding the ball of the foot. The pains may become worse when you go barefoot, or stand, walk or run for extended periods.

The most common cause of pain in the metatarsal region is neuroma, the thickening or enlargement of the nerve tissue connected to the central three toes. Symptoms of neuroma include a clicking feeling in the foot while walking, numbness, or radiating, burning pain. Some describe a feeling of walking on a lump, ball or bunched up sock.

While a number of factors can contribute to the formation of a neuroma, conditions that affect the stability of the toe joints like high-arches, flat feet, bunions and hammer toes play a significant role. Activities like running, aerobics and sports involving repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot also exacerbate the problem.

If you are someone who suffers from metatarsalgia or neuroma, the good news is that help is at hand! There are a range of measures available to control, treat and prevent pain in your forefoot, usually involving conservative rather than invasive treatment plans.

Your podiatrist is the person best placed to assess your condition, and will advise you on what you can do to help your foot to function as normally as possible.

What is most important is that your foot is given assistance to function correctly. Check that the shoes you wear do not exert excess pressure on your toes, or change the way your foot moves when you walk. A pair of well-fitted orthotics may be essential to relieve abnormal stress on the affected area, and padding the arch of the foot may take pressure away from the nerve. For acute pain, anti-inflammatory medication or a course of steroid injections can help ease the problem. In addition to this, rest, ice and maintaining a healthy weight are all important in aiding your recovery.

If you suspect the pain in your forefoot is something more than a bruise or a bump, give us a call today on Faulconbridge – (02) 4751-7583, Katoomba – (02) 4782-6169 or Lithgow – (02) 6352-5685 to book your full assessment. We care about the wellbeing of your feet and want to get you back on your toes as soon as possible!

That’s all from us today!

The team at Blue Mountains Podiatry