Metatarsalgia is a broad term used to describe pain in the ball of your foot. As such, it is not a singular condition but is used to describe the area of the foot where the pain occurs.
You could be suffering with Metatarsalgia for many reasons, namely:
  • Due to the shape of your foot. A higher arch, for example, can put extra pressure on the metatarsals
  • If you wear inappropriate footwear
  • If you do a lot of running, jumping or high impact sports
Types of Metatarsalgia
Foot pain in the ball of your foot can indicate one of the below conditions:

Plantar plate tear is the most common foot condition and we see this a lot at Footfocus Podiatry. It refers to the structure that holds your toe straight. Damage to this part of your foot  can cause your toe to rise. 

The condition is mostly due to long term and repeated pressure. It is important to resolve this issue as soon as possible as if left untreated it can lead to a condition called claw toe.

The best treatment for plantar plate tear varies, but often include rest, ice application and foot strapping. In the most severe cases, we may recommend surgery but this would only be suggested as the very last resort. 

Every person’s toes should have at least 45 degrees of motion. When this movement falls below 45 degrees, the toe’s movement is restricted, which can lead to hallux rigidus/limitus. People with this condition experience pain, often after high levels of activity.

An X-ray will provide an accurate diagnosis, which is vital as patients can sometimes believe this condition is gout. 

Treatment options include taping the area to help reduce the strain. Having an assessment of your footwear and manual manipulation therapy also form part of these treatment options. Here at Footfocus Podiatry we offer support with orthotics.

If you find yourself with a pain in the middle of your foot that is aggressive then you may have a stress fracture. Stress fractures can be caused by a lack of appropriate footwear or a change in footwear.

The most appropriate treatment for this condition can only be confirmed through a clinical examination, but may not always be flagged up by a standard X-ray. At Footfocus Podiatry, we will therefore explore the history of the pain and where it presents itself and when.

Inflammation of your bursa, the part of your foot that is a fluid filled sac is responsible for  protecting your joints from friction or unnecessary pressure. Bursitis often results from a high level of pressure. It is more commonly found in people who have injured their foot or who are prone to Rheumatoid Arthritis. The symptoms of bursitis can range from redness and pain which can lead to an infection.


If you feel nauseous, have a high temperature and the area of the bursa is warm to touch then this may be a sign of the area being septic, and an accurate, fast diagnosis is vital.


Treatment for bursitis includes ensuring you rest the affected area and apply ice. We may also pad the area or strap it as this part of your foot is used in most of your daily activities.  We may prescribe anti-inflammatory and non-steroid drugs. These treatments will help to reduce the swelling and limit pain. If it has become septic, then we may need to prescribe antibiotics.

Capsulitis is an inflammatory condition. It is usually found in the capsule joint but can be found in other parts of the foot. It is very painful and is more likely to be found in people with retracted toes. 


Capsulitis can be treated by mobilisation to help increase normal function, rest and taping the toe to help realign it. You will also be offered advice on appropriate footwear and activities. If this is a chronic condition and this area is continually swollen and painful we may advise that you  have a steroid injection to reduce these symptoms.

As we understand the importance of great foot health, we will support you in Your Foot Journey through our step by step process. 

As with all foot conditions it is important that you receive the most appropriate diagnosis and  appropriate treatment options. 

If you think you may be experiencing Metatarsalgia, book an appointment with one of our friendly and knowledgeable podiatrists.

We can help assess and diagnose specific types of Metatarsalgia by providing you with a full Foot MOT. We pride ourselves on our customer care and guarantee we can get you back to your healthy self so you can enjoy walking again.

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