Ouch! What’s This Pain in the Ball of My Foot?


It may have come on suddenly or been getting worse and worse, particularly on days when you are on your feet for long periods of time. This pain on the bottom of your foot is beginning to make it hard to walk. A condition that we treat at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC that can cause these symptoms is metatarsalgia. It occurs when the nerves between two of your metatarsal bones become inflamed, creating pain and discomfort in the ball of your foot.

If our foot and ankle surgeons Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko diagnose you with metatarsalgia, they will have to do some sleuthing to find out what’s causing this condition. The inflammation in the ball of your foot is caused by uneven pressure or too much pressure on the area. There are, however, several possible reasons for this.

  • Biomechanical—if you tend to overpronate or roll your foot inward when you walk or run, this can create uneven pressure on the ball of the foot.

  • Foot injuries or deformities

  • Overuse—sports and exercise such as running that have a large amount of repetitive pounding on the ball of the foot can cause metatarsalgia, as can jobs and activities that require long periods of standing on hard floors or ground

  • Footwear problems—shoes that don’t fit properly or provide adequate arch support can also create ball of foot issues

  • Being overweight

  • Aging

  • Arthritis

  • Neuroma

The foot doctor will determine the cause based on the results of your physical exam, medical history and questions about your current lifestyle and recent activities. The treatment for metatarsalgia will be aimed at correcting the underlying cause or making modifications in footwear (including custom orthotics) to reposition your foot and decrease pressure and discomfort. Icing and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may also be recommended for pain.

If you have symptoms of metatarsalgia, contact our Valley Stream (516-825-4070) or Lake Success (516-327-0074) office today.