Metatarsalgia is a term that is used to refer to foot pain. More specifically, it refers to pain that is located in the ball of the foot. In a large percentage of cases, metatarsalgia is caused by wearing shoes that do not fit properly or do not provide the support that the feet need. Some of the common footwear culprits include the following:
- Shoes with high heels
- Shoes with a narrow toe box
- Shoes that are poorly padded, especially work boots
- Shoes that have flat insoles and insufficient arch support, like sandals or flip flops.
Mechanics of the Feet
In order to relieve metatarsalgia, it is important to choose footwear that provides metatarsal arch support. Every time you take a step, your body puts pressure on the ball of the foot, and the metatarsal arch flattens a bit.
Just like a shock absorber in a car, the arch of the foot acts as a shock absorber, too. If the toes and balls of the feet are not in proper alignment because they are being forced into an improper position by high heeled shoes or shoes with a narrow toe box, the pressure that is exerted when you take a step will cause pain.
You may also experience foot pain because the arch of the foot is not getting sufficient support due to poorly padded shoes or shoes that have flat insoles or inadequate arch support.
Your foot has five metatarsals; one connects to each toe. Dropped metatarsal is a condition in which one or more of the metatarsals is out of alignment and sits lower than it should. This places excess pressure and strain on the metatarsal.
There are several different situations that can cause a person to develop dropped metatarsal, including the following:
- The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the foot are too relaxed to hold the joints in their proper position, known as “flexible foot;”
- The balls of the feet are subjected to excessive pressure through the wearing of high heeled shoes, which stretches the soft tissue in the foot and causes the metatarsal head to drop;
- Untreated fractures or dislocations in the foot can heal improperly, resulting in abnormal alignment. This condition is common amongst athletes and members of the military.
Thinning of the fatty pad that is located in the ball of the foot can also cause metatarsalgia. The fatty pad serves to protect the structure of the foot, and when it thins, it can’t provide the protection that the foot needs. Thinning of the fatty pad can be caused by a dropped metatarsal as well as conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, connective tissue disorders, and endocrine disease.
Wearing high heeled shoes or thinly soled shoes can also wear down on the foot’s fatty pad. People who have high arches are also prone to destruction of the fatty pad, because the arch is rigid and forces all the body’s weight onto the ball of the foot.
What Can You Do About Metatarsalgia?
You can relieve the pain associated with metatarsalgia by wearing appropriate footwear. Some of the best brands of shoes for metatarsalgia include the following:
- Finn Comfort
If your metatarsalgia is related to having high arches, you may also benefit from wearing custom arch supports to provide you with additional support in the arch & ball of foot area.
If you suffer from metatarsalgia, visit Foot Solutions Ireland. We offer a wide variety of comfort footwear, including the most popular brands preferred by customers. We will be happy to help you find the shoes and inserts that will relieve your pain.