5 Reasons Why the Balls of Your Feet May Be in Pain

Pain in the balls of your feet can be, well, a pain. Certainly, it can make it more uncomfortable to walk, run, or even to stand in one place. Also called metatarsalgia, runners or athletes who participate in high-impact sports are more likely to experience pain in the balls of their feet. While it’s not uncommon, it’s also not normal.

Experiencing pain in the balls of your feet can be caused by a few things. In this blog, Kerry E. Berg, DPM, of Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates explains five possible causes of pain in the balls of your feet along with treatment options. 

1. Wearing the wrong shoes

As is the case with so many other foot problems, such as neuromas and plantar fasciitis, wearing the wrong shoes can contribute to pain in the balls of your feet. If you wear worn-out athletic shoes or shoes that pinch your toes, you’re more likely to have pain in the balls of your feet. The best solution is to get shoes that have room in the toe box so your toes aren’t crowded.

2. Being overweight

Being overweight, even by a few pounds, can put stress on all parts of your feet. This extra pressure on the balls of your feet can lead to major pain. Losing weight can help relieve the pressure on your feet.

3. Stress fractures

All of the bones in your feet are prone to stress fractures, which are tiny breaks. They fall short of being a full bone break, but they can be significant enough to cause pain. An X-ray of your foot is the only way to know for sure that you have a stress fracture.

4. Having certain foot problems

Having certain foot problems can increase the risk of developing other foot problems. Certain conditions, such as hammertoes and neuromas, are often linked to pain in the balls of the feet. This also goes back to your shoe choices, especially if you regularly wear high heels or other shoes that pinch your toes. The best bet is to get shoes that will provide good arch support and plenty of space in the toe box.

5. Participating in certain activities

As we’ve mentioned already, runners are more likely to develop pain in the balls of their feet. But this occurs more frequently in distance runners in particular, such as ones who participate in marathons rather than those who run for a couple of miles a day.

High-impact sports — especially ones that involve jumping or running on hard surfaces — can also increase your risk of developing pain in the balls of your feet. Tennis, basketball, soccer, and similar sports can lead to developing pain in the balls of your feet.

Treating foot pain

Pain in the balls of your feet almost always means that you’ll have to miss a few games or take a couple of weeks off training. But the good news is that it’s rarely permanent. The usual treatment includes resting and icing your feet. It also usually includes getting shock-absorbing insoles, getting new shoes, or both.

Even though you should be able to recover relatively quickly from pain in the balls of your feet, it isn’t something you should ignore. If you develop pain, don’t just push through it. Failure to address the pain could lead to further problems, such as pain in your lower back and hips as you try to compensate for the pain.

If you have pain in the balls of your feet, it’s always a good idea to get it checked out by a podiatrist. To have your feet examined, book an appointment online or over the phone with Intermountain Foot & Ankle Associates today.

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