Ball of Foot Pain
Being active and participating in sports is a great way to maintain your overall physical health. Unfortunately, sometimes the effort you put into getting or staying in shape leads to undesirable conditions. Sure, you might expect to be a little sore after lifting weights or feel a good burn in your legs when you run, but if you develop ball of the foot pain when you run there is a problem. When this happens, you are likely experiencing metatarsalgia, and Capital District Podiatry is here to help.
If you have pain and inflammation in the ball of your foot, especially if you participate in high-impact sports that involve running and jumping, it may be metatarsalgia. Typically, the pain will have appeared over the course of several months, as opposed to suddenly springing up on you. This condition is essentially a common overuse injury and not particularly serious, but it can sideline you from participating in activities that you enjoy.
In addition to physical activity, you may also develop this ailment as the result of ill-fitting footwear. Athletic shoes that do not offer adequate arch support and cushioning may contribute to metatarsal problems. High heels can be another culprit, as they place extra weight on the forefoot and keep the toes pushed together so your bodyweight is not spread out over the entire foot as intended.
There are certain anatomical conditions that can increase the risk of developing metatarsalgia, including high foot arches, a short first metatarsal bone, or a hammertoe deformity. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or gout, you are at greater risk of ball of the foot pain from this condition.
Getting You Back on the Track
Conservative, non-surgical techniques are often successful in taking care of the problem for you. Simply resting and taking time away from any activity that involves running or jumping will help. If you are worried about physical conditioning, swimming and bicycling provide great workouts without the high impact. Icing the affected area with an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, will help reduce the inflammation. If the pain is excessive, we can recommend the right type of over-the-counter pain relievers to provide relief.
Avoiding Metatarsalgia in the First Place
Since the best type of cure is simply preventing an issue from happening in the first place, there are steps that you can take to avoid developing metatarsal issues. Preventative measures start with footwear, particularly with making sure that you have the correct shoes for the activity you are engaging in. If you are going for a five-mile run, do not wear basketball shoes. Besides matching your footwear with the athletic activity, choose ones that offer sufficient cushioning and support. Shoes with a wide toe box and a rocker sole can help ensure proper weight distribution. Staying with the theme of footwear, keep the wearing of high heels to a minimum, perhaps saving them only for special occasions.
One of the main causes of metatarsalgia is the weight that is being placed on your forefoot, so it only makes sense that keeping your bodyweight within a healthy range can prevent this condition from happening. At the same time, if you are looking to bring your weight down by running, do not try to take on too much at the start, as doing so will increase your risk of injury.
If you have tried to take care of ball of the foot pain on your own, but are finding that it won’t go away, come in and see us at Capital District Podiatry at either our Troy or Clifton Park, NY, locations. Call (518) 273-0053 to make an appointment today!