(Pain in Ball of Foot)
How to Say It: meta-tar-sal-jea
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Metatarsalgia is pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot.
Some things that may cause this problem are:
This problem is more common in older adults. Other things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the foot.
Images may need to be taken of the foot. This can be done with x-rays.
The goal of treatment is to ease pain and promote healing. Options are:
Some people may need surgery to treat foot problems that are causing metatarsalgia.
The risk of this problem can be lowered by:
American College of Podiatric Medicine
American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society
The Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Forefoot pain (metatarsalgia). American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society—FootCareMD website. Available at: https://www.footcaremd.org/conditions-treatments/toes/forefoot-pain-metatarsalgia. Accessed July 30, 2020.
Pain in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at:
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Updated December 2019. Accessed July 30, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT
Last Updated: 3/10/2021
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