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Metatarsalgia is the term used to pain affecting the ball of the foot; however it is not a diagnosis.


The cause is varied and can include overuse injuries, fracture, trapped nerve, joint pain and skin lesions. The symptoms can include pain, swelling and inflammation. The problem is often worse in thin sole or high-heel shoes and aggravated by standing for long periods or lengthy walks.


The effective treatment of metatarsalgia requires a thorough assessment with the treatment directed to the underlying cause or causes. This requires taking a medical history, clinically examination and investigations. Sometimes diagnostic injections of local anaesthetic are used to aid the diagnosis.

Potential causes
  • Gait pattern

  • Equinus

  • Foot type (cavus / pes planus)

  • Abnormal forefoot alignment

  • Inflammatory conditions

  • Trauma

  • Previous surgery   

  • Soft tissue pathology

  • Skin lesions

  • Neuroma

There are several treatment options for metatarsalgia. Please see the attached document for further information. 
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