The cause of Metatarsalgia (sometimes referred to as ball-of-foot-pain) is usually due to excessive pressure over a long period of time. This all-purpose term indicates a painful foot condition in the metatarsal area of the foot. It is normal to experience acute, recurring, or chronic pain in the the area just before the toes. And sometimes more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).
Most often causing the condition are poor fitting footwear or shoes with heels that are too high. Any shoes with a narrow toe or that inhibit the walking process can lead to this extreme discomfort in the forefoot.
Treating metatarsalgia is accomplished by wearing shoes designed with a high, wide toe and a rocker sole. In addition, orthotics designed to relieve ball-of-foot pain usually feature a metatarsal pad. Constructed with the pad placed to redistribute weight from the painful area, these products should provide significant relief.
Category: Pain Caused by High Heels
Calluses are a thickening of the surface layer of the skin, usually occurring in response to pressure.
Calluses often form on the ball of the foot, the heel, and the underside of the big toe.
Corns are also a thickening of the surface layer of the skin but usually form on the top of toes, tip of toes and between the toes. Both corns and calluses have symptoms of pain when pressure is applied and discomfort wearing tight fitting shoes.
Calluses and corns are both more common in women than men, because women wear tight fitting shoes, socks and stockings more often than men.
The formation of calluses is caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells that harden and thicken over an area of the foot. A corn is caused by too much pressure. The pressure may be from:
• tight fitting shoes
• tight socks
• tight stockings
• shoe rubbing against the toe
• deformed toes
• crooked toes
Calluses and corns can be treated with medications to relieve pain along with changes in footwear to relieve pressure.
3 out of 4 people in the US experience serious foot problems but only a small percentage is born with foot problems.
Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles. A quarter of all the bones in your body are in your feet.
Walking is the best exercise for your feet, contributing to general health by improving circulation.
Conditions like arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can have their initial symptoms in the feet – so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
Women have about four times as many foot problems as men. Doctors generally blame high heels for the difference.
Your two feet have about 250,000 sweat glands and can excrete as much as a cup of moisture per day.
Neglect and a lack of proper care, including ill fitting shoes, bring on foot problems.
If you put on weight, the bone and ligament structure of your feet might change. Get your shoe size rechecked to make sure you are buying shoes that are best for your feet.
Approximately 65% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage, which in severe forms can create the need for lower limb amputations. Approximately 56,000 people a year lose a foot or leg to diabetes.
Walking barefoot can cause plantar warts. The virus enters through a cut.
Your two feet may be different sizes and the ball of the foot is twice as wide as the heel. Be sure to get shoes that fit.
About 5% of Americans have toenail problems in a given year.
The average person takes about 9,000 steps a day. That means that by 70 most people would have walked around the earth 4 times!
Hammer toe is a term that is commonly used to describe any type of toe deformity which may or may not be a problem. In a hammertoe the deformity usually exists in one toe (at the proximal inter phalangeal joint) – the base of the toe points upward and the end of the toe points down.
The symptoms of a hammer toe are usually first noticed when a corn or bunion develops on the top of the toe and becomes painful, usually when wearing tight shoes. There may be a bursa under the corn or instead of a corn, depending on the pressure. Most of the symptoms are due to pressure from footwear on the toe. There may be a callus under the metatarsal head at the base of the toe. Initially a hammer toe is usually flexible, but when longstanding it becomes more rigid.
Some families are more prone to develop hammer toes other simply have weaker small muscles in their feet.
Prevention of a hammer toe can be difficult as symptoms do not usually start until the problem is well established. However, there are several things that you can do:
• Wear appropriate footwear. The correct amount of space in the toe will allow the toes to function without excessive pressure. Shoes should be one-half inch longer than your longest toe.
• Treat any corns or calluses that are present.
• Use padding to get pressure off the toe.
• Use hammer toe crests and hammer toe splints.
• Ger gel toe shields and gel toe caps.
If conservative treatments are not successful, surgery may be used to correct a hammertoe, usually as a day procedure.
Over time, your feet become wider and longer and the natural padding under your heel and forefoot thins. Years of standing and walking flatten your arches and stiffen your feet and ankles.
If you wear high heels — shoes with a heel 2 inches or higher — your feet slide forward in your shoe, redistributing your weight, creating unnatural pressure points and throwing your body’s natural alignment out of whack. Over a number of years this can cause serious problems with the hips and back.
As with all anti-aging advice, keeping your body fit always comes first. Standing on one foot for as long as possible and then switching to the other foot and repeating is a best single exercise which improves motor coordination and can be done at any time and without any special equipment. This exercise works the muscles and tendons in the foot and keeps them working longer.
The next time you’re shoe shopping, keep these tips in mind:
Choose sensible heels, an inch and a half or less, with a wide heel base. Narrow, stiletto-type heels don’t give good support.
Recheck your shoe size occasionally, they can get longer and wider as you age.
Don’t rely on shoe size alone, try them on.
Compare the width of the shoe with the width of your foot. Stand next to the shoe in your bare feet. Which is wider — your foot or the shoe? Avoid shoes that are too narrow for your feet, no matter how much you like them.
Try on both shoes for comfort. Fit the larger of your two feet, many people have slight differences between their feet.
Make sure you have at least a finger’s width between your longest toe and the end of your shoe.
Fit the shoes to your feet late in the afternoon or in the evening because your feet may swell up as the day goes on.
Shoes should feel comfortable from the beginning. They are not going to fit better after you have worn them.
Select materials that breathe and allow flexibility, such as leather or nylon mesh.
Stay away from shoes with seams across the toe box, which can rub.
A neuroma is a benign tumor of a nerve. Morton’s neuroma isn’t really a tumor, but just a thickening of the tissue that surrounds the digital nerve which leads to the toes. It usually happens between the third and fourth toes because of an irritation, injury or a lot of pressure.
Most of the time you can’t see anything by just looking at your foot. But you may feel a burning pain in the ball of your foot that may radiate into the toes. The pain generally worsens when walking, running and also wearing your shoes. In fact, you usually can’t feel it at all when not on your feet.
You should have a doctor diagnose your pain. During the exam, your doctor will usually be able to feel the mass between your bones. He will also try to replicate the pain and look for calluses or evidence of stress fractures in the bones that might be the cause of the pain.
Initially you will need to change your shoes. Avoid high heels or tight shoes, and wear wider shoes with lower heels and a soft sole. This lets the bones spread out and might reduce pressure on the nerve, giving it time to heal. Your doctor might also recommend shoe inserts and pads to relieve irritation and the pressure the nerve. In some cases, your doctor may want to use an injection of a corticosteroid medication to reduce the swelling and inflammation of the nerve, bringing some relief. If all else fails, surgery can resect a small portion of the nerve or release the tissue around the nerve, and generally involves a short recovery period.
Interestingly, Morton’s neuroma is 8 times greater in women than in men.
Mallet toe occurs when the joint at the end of the toe cannot straighten. Excessive rubbing of the mallet toe against the top of the shoe can lead to pain and the development of a corn. The tip of the toe is often turned down against the shoe causing pressure and discomfort. Mallet toes can cause extreme discomfort, and can be aggravated if restrictive or improperly fitting footwear is worn for a prolonged period of time.
Each of the lesser toes (all but the big toe) has three bones. The deformities, a hammer toe, claw toe, and mallet toe, are all due to abnormal positions of the bones at the joints between the bones. The mallet toe is the deformity where the most distant joint points downward. This is most common in the second toe in patients whose second toe is the longest toe. A painful callous can form at the tip of a mallet toe.
Tight, ill-fitting shoes are the main cause of all these deformities. Anytime the toes are compressed into an abnormal position for any length of time, problems with the feet will follow. There are orthotic devices to help get your feet back into the right position. Comfortable shoes with plenty of room for the toes are a must. If you have chronic pain, surgery may even be necessary to get relief.