Forefoot Pain (Metatarsalgia)

At A Glance:

Forefoot pain is otherwise known as Metatarsalgia, which is a broad term for pain and tenderness in the ball of the foot.


  • Sharp aching or stabbing pain in the ball of the foot.
  • Pain when standing, walking or running.
  • Pain when flexing the foot.
  • Stress fractures.
  • Gout of the foot.
  • Numbness or tingling in the toes.
  • The skin over the ball of the foot becomes callous and hard.
  • Loss of sensation on the ball of the foot.
  • Change in the shape of the foot.


Because the ball of the foot is a very complex area with the toe joints and tendons in close relation, there are multiple causes for Metatarsalgia and finding the root cause may be challenging.

Forefoot pain (Metatarsalgia) is often caused by an underlying condition such as:

  • Bunions.
  • Arthritis of the foot or big toe.
  • Inflammation of the sesamoids beneath the big toe joint.
  • Morton’s Neuroma .
  • Intense physical activity or overuse which places a strain on the ball of the foot.
  • Trauma to the foot.
  • Cavus feet .
  • Foot deformities that change the weight distribution of the foot.
  • Age may cause fat pad deterioration on the ball of the foot.
  • Obesity.
  • Ill-fitting shoes .

Treatment Options

Nonsurgical methods can treat early onset of Forefoot Pain (Metatarsalgia) include:

  • Pain medications.
  • Orthotics (insoles) may help distribute pressure off your feet more evenly.
  • Padded cushions can be inserted into the shoes to help with shock absorption on the ball of the foot.
  • Resting with your feet elevated to reduce swelling and inflammation of the forefoot.
  • Weight loss.
  • Physiotherapy.

If you have tried these methods, still suffer from forefoot pain and have problems with walking or running, surgical methods may be an option for you.

Speak to your orthopaedic surgeon about your case and what surgical option may be best suited for you.

Please note: appointment dates and times are subject to availability.

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