Foot metatarsalgia is a disorder of the anterior and central part of the foot caused by plantar overload or inadequate footwear.
This term refers to pain and inflammation of the foot (or sole) of the foot in the anterior part. You need to control the shape of your feet and the way they develop over time, especially if there are foot problems in your family.There are foot exercises that can strengthen them.
It ishelpful to learn to pick up small objects such as a pencil or a ball with your toes.
You should wear proper fit shoes or shoes with insoles and that do not cause cramps and do not put the fingers. Women should avoid high-heeled shoes that tiptoe over and cause chronic metatarsalgia.
Athletes who practice high-impact sports where they must run or jump are at high risk of developing forefoot pain.
Athletics practitioners are very exposed to the traumatic forces in the forefoot, while many other athletes, including tennis players, soccer players, and baseball players often suffer from forefoot disorders, including mechanical type metatarsalgia.
Metatarsalgia should not be confused with Morton’s neuroma consisting of the benign tumor lesion represented by a fibrosis of the finger nerve; it is not a tumor.
It is a benign disease that causes pain in the intermetatarsal space between the second, third and fourth metatarsals.
Morton’s neuroma causes constant discomfort even at night, while metatarsalgia only causes pain when walking.
Causes of metatarsalgia
In each of the feet, there are five bones (metatarsals) that surround the plantar arch to the toes.
The first metatarsal is smaller but is wider than the other four that usually have a similar size.
In the push phase of the path, jump or run, the weight of the body is transferred to the fingers and metatarsals. The first two metatarsals support the charge of this force.
Most metatarsal problems develop when something changes in the shape or normal functioning of the foot (the mechanical component), which affects the distribution of weight.
These changes can put excessive pressure on the metatarsals and cause inflammation and pain in the metatarsal head, that is, the rounded end of the bone that connects with the finger.
Intense training or activity. Runners are at risk for metatarsalgia mainly because the anterior part of the foot absorbs significant force while walking. Those who practice high-impact sports are also at risk, especially if the shoes do not fit or are worn.
Some deformities of the feet. A foot cavus can put extra pressure on the metatarsals. If the second toe is longer, the consequence is that the second metatarsal gets more weight than normal during the walk.
Hammered fingers. This foot problem can arise when wearing high-heeled or very narrow shoes and the fingers can not remain flat.
As a result, one of the toes (usually the second) folds down because of a deviation in the third finger joint. This contraction depresses the head of the metatarsals.
Hallux valgus. This disorder is composed of a swollen and painful bulge at the base of the big toe.
Sometimes the tendency to develop a hallux valgus is inherited, but the problem can also result from very tight shoes or high heels.
It usually happens in women than men. Hallux valgus can weaken the big toe by putting additional pressure on the front of the foot. Surgery to correct the deformity can cause a metatarsalgia if it does not rest enough to allow the foot to heal completely.
Overweight . Most of the weight of the body is transferred to the forefoot when walking, the excess of pounds means more pressure on the metatarsals. Losing weight can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of metatarsalgia.
Shoes not suitable. High heel transfers weight forward to the foot, is a common cause of metatarsalgia in women. Pointy shoes or sneakers that do not have padding support contribute to the metatarsal problem.
Stress fractures. Small lesions on the metatarsus or knuckles can be painful and change the way we support weight on foot.
Neuroma of Morton. Usually, this growth of benign fibrous tissue around the nerve occurs between the third and fourth metatarsal head.
Neuroma causes symptoms similar to those of metatarsalgia.
This disease is often caused by high heels or tight shoes causing too much pressure on the toes.
It can also develop after activities that cause repeated microtraumas such as aerobic and running.
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Symptoms of metatarsalgia
The metatarsalgia causes pain in the sole that worsens standing, walking or running.
Rarely is this disease bilateral?
Some people describe the pain as the sensation of walking on the stones.
Others describe the general and diffuse pain.
The stitches can be felt in one or both feet. For some people, the pain is felt only in one or two heads of the metatarsals, for others, it feels at all.
Usually, metatarsalgia gradually comes in a few weeks, hardly ever occurs suddenly. The affected area of the foot is sensitive when you press it.
The symptoms of acute metatarsalgia are:
- Burning pain and burning in the front of the foot, or the part behind the toes.
- The pain in the area around the second, third or fourth toe or near the big toe is rarer.
- The stitches increase when you are standing, walking or running, and it improves when you do not support your weight on your feet: sitting or lying down.
- Acute pain or stabbing in toes
- Numbness or tingling in the toes
- The pain gets worse when you flex your feet
- A sensation similar to when there is a stone in the shoe
- The pain increases in bare feet, mostly walking on a hard surface.
Sometimes these symptoms develop suddenly, especially in thecase of increased exercise intensity or other activity that affects the forefoot, but this disease usually develops over time.