The Causes of Metatarsal Syndrome

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Sometimes referred to as metatarsalgia, this condition can affect the bones, ligaments and other tissues in the ball of your foot — the forward section of the bottom of your foot that lies just behind your toes — causing severe pain, swelling, and discomfort which is sometimes described as feeling like you have a rock in your shoe.

Many factors need to be considered when diagnosing metatarsal syndrome. While any one of these can be the primary instigator, it is usually a combination of two or more factors.

Some of the factors that may cause or contribute to metatarsal syndrome may include:

  • Poorly fitting shoes—The extra weight and pressure that high heeled shoes put on the ball of the foot in women helps to explain why women suffer from this condition at such a high rate. Avoiding tight fitting shoes is an excellent way to avoid metatarsal syndrome.
  • Foot neuromasA neuroma is a growth of fibers encompassing a nerve that can cause symptoms that mimic metatarsal syndrome and add to the pressure on the metatarsal bones, contributing to the severity of each.
  • Hairline fracturesUsing an X-ray or other imaging device, your podiatrist will check for the tiny breaks of a stress fracture that can cause pain in the ball of the foot.
  • Foot deformities—Foot deformities such as hammertoes and bunions frequently precede a diagnosis of metatarsal syndrome, which is a good reason to have them treated when you first notice them.

Resting the foot to relieve stress and pressure will often help inflammation to subside and allow healing to occur. Metatarsal pads may also be worn in your footwear to help isolate the site.

If you are experiencing painful complications with metatarsalgia, seeking treatment from an experienced, board-certified podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment is highly recommended. Dr. Scott Nelson of Foot and Ankle Medical Clinic in Garland, TX, is a board-certified and highly experienced podiatrist who has helped people suffering from all types of foot and ankle injuries and deformities. From bunions, to diabetic foot problems, sports injuries and fungal nails, you can trust that Dr. Nelson and his staff are wholeheartedly devoted to your foot health. Please contact our office with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment by calling 972-414-9800.