What is Metatarsalgia?

Metarsalgia is a term that describes forefoot pain, or pain at the balls of your feet. This especially includes the 3 conditions of: Morton’s syndrome, Morton’s neuroma and metatarsal head pain.

Morton’s Syndrome
This condition is when a person’s big toe is shorter than their second toe, causing the second toe to take on most of the pressure.

Morton’s Neuroma
There are nerves that run between the long bones in the foot. When these nerves get compressed, they become enlarged and inflamed.

Metatarsal Head Pain
Sometimes the balls of the feet naturally have a higher amount of pressure under them, causing discomfort when standing for longer periods or during activity

Signs incmetatarsalgialude:

  • Numbness and tingling in toes
  • Callusing under 2nd met head
  • Tenderness between toe joints
  • Feeling of stepping on a stone
  • Fat pad atrophy
  • Pain is worse while wearing footwear





Treatment Options

Custom Made Foot Orthotics
Along with the main arch in your foot (medial longitudinal arch) there is an arch that runs around the balls of your feet called the transverse or metatarsal arch. Custom orthotics can act to support both of these arches as they work together during weight bearing.

Custom orthotics can incorporate the following features:
Forefoot cushioning – if the fat pad has migrated forward cushioning can act to replace it

Hollowing – offloads the affected joint capsule that is irritated

Metatarsal pads or bars – supports the transverse arch by not letting it collapse like it naturally wants to
Since footwear is a main cause of metatarsalgia, it is important to find a pair of shoes with appropriate features to relieve pain.

When shopping for shoes, keep an eye out for these features:
Wider toe box – avoid squeezing the ball of the foot which could aggravate any nerve impingements

Flat heel – a 3 inch heel height can increase forefoot pressure up to 76%!

Rocker sole – reduces the need for toe joints to flex, decreasing pressure

If you experience pain under the ball of your foot or numbness in your toes and would like to see how we can help please call the clinic at 519-787-8111 or visit here to make an appointment.


Laura Allen, C.Ped(C), B.A.Kin

Canadian Certified Pedorthist

Owner, Align Pedorthics


Photo from: www.cookfootandankle.com

Leave a Reply

Contact Us

Dr. Kira Bailey, HnsBA, DC
p: 519.787. 8111
F: 519.787.4660
e: info@shiftfamilyhealth.com
105 Queen Street, West, Unit 7
Fergus ON N1M 1S6

Business Hours

Monday 8 am–7 pm
Tuesday 8 am–7 pm
Wednesday 8 am–7 pm
Thursday 8 am–7 pm
Friday 8 am–7 pm
Saturday 9 am–3 pm