Metatarsalgia is pain in your forefoot, in the area of your metatarsal bones the bones that connect to your toes. Although the pain might feel as if it runs across the entire ball of your foot, generally it's under only one of the metatarsal heads. You can find it by pushing up under each metatarsal head with your thumb until you feel the one that makes you jump. Also, you'll feel a callus there. Metatarsalgia might feel like a bone bruise or as if you're walking on a pebble.Causes
This condition is usually attributed to an alignment problem of the metatarsals. The one that hurts is generally lower than the others, which causes pressure and pain.Treatment
The best way to treat this condition is to reduce the pressure on the injured metatarsal. You can do this with a metatarsal pad, a heart-shaped pad made of felt or rubber, which when placed in your shoe will help relieve some of the pressure. If the pad doesn't work, cut a hole in the insole of your shoe directly under the painful metatarsal. Usually metatarsalgia responds quickly to either of these two remedies, and only in the most extreme cases is a visit to the doctor necessary.Prevention
Wear well-cushioned running shoes with soft midsoles the softer the better. Over-the-counter insoles such as Spenco or Sorbothane may help.Can you run with it?
Not if it hurts. If you do run, be aware that the continued pounding can lead to a stress fracture of the injured metatarsal.
Run The Planet thanks Running The World for the permission to reprint the article “Fourteen common foot ailments and their cures”. Text copyright © 2001 by Running The World.