Forefoot pain (the ball of your foot), presents quite commonly in a Podiatry practice like ours. Generally, forefoot pain is associated with aging. Individuals with this condition present and experience pain of varied intensity and discomfort and find difficulty in activities like walking, running, playing, and several others.
If you have this condition you will usually experience a sharp, aching or burning pain in the ball of your foot. The pain usually worsens during standing, walking, running or when the affected foot is flexed. Some may have numbness or tingling sensation in their toes. In most cases, the skin overlying the affected area becomes thickened. Some people may notice changes in the shape of the feet or toes depending upon the cause of pain.
There are many causes of forefoot pain. Some common causes include:
- Shape of the foot
- Big toe arthritis
- Stress fractures
- Morton’s neuroma – A thickening of the tissue around a nerve leading to the toes
- Sesamoiditis – Irritation of the small bones in the forefoot
- High foot arch
- Loss of fat pad under the ball of the foot with aging
- Poorly-fitting shoes
Early treatment is critical to relieve pain, so you must consult your Podiatrist when symptoms initially arise. Mild to moderate cases of forefoot pain can be managed by conservative treatment by your Podiatrist using a combination of the following:
- Rest and ice
- Dry needling
- Soft tissue therapy
- Foot mobilization (FMT)
- Adaptation to a weight loss dietary regimen
- Activity modification
- Use customized orthotics to support and protect the foot. This also helps cut back the pressure placed on the metatarsal bones.
- Extra-fit toe pads, softening or gel pads can be placed inside the shoes to help cushion the shock while walking. Simple footwear modifications include using low-heeled shoes and broad toe box shoes with silicone gel pads to minimize discomfort at the tip of the toes.