Metatarsalgia is a painful condition affecting the metatarsal bones at the front of the foot. When these bones experience excessive pressure or irritation, it can lead to pain and discomfort that can limit daily activities. This article will discuss the common causes of metatarsalgia and the best practices for relieving this condition.

Understanding Factors that Contribute to Metatarsalgia

By understanding the origins of metatarsalgia, you can adopt preventive practices and develop healthy habits for your feet.

Wearing ill-fitting shoes

Narrow shoes, pointed-toe shoes, or high heels exert excessive pressure on the metatarsals, leading to pain and inflammation.


Foot injuries such as fractures, sprains, or bruises can also contribute to the development of metatarsalgia. When trauma occurs to the metatarsals, it can result in inflammation and pain.

Postural issues

Poor posture during walking or running can lead to uneven weight distribution on the feet, exerting excessive pressure on the metatarsals.

Excessive physical activity

Engaging in excessive physical activity, particularly high-impact sports or overtraining, can increase the risk of metatarsalgia. The repetitive movements and frequent impacts on the feet can cause inflammation of the metatarsals.

Recognizing Symptoms of Metatarsalgia for Early Intervention

By recognizing the characteristics of metatarsalgia, you can take the necessary steps to obtain an accurate diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan for quick and effective recovery.

Pain in the front part of the foot

Pain is one of the most common symptoms of metatarsalgia. You may experience sharp pain in the metatarsal head, the bone at the front of the foot.

Discomfort while walking or standing

Metatarsalgia can lead to considerable discomfort when walking or when you remain in a static position for a long time. You may feel pressure, stabbing, or burning in the metatarsals. This discomfort can limit your daily mobility.

Burning or numbness sensation

Metatarsalgia may also come with a burning or numbness sensation in the affected area. You may experience unpleasant warmth or numbness in the metatarsal heads. These sensations can be intermittent or persistent but generally indicate irritation or inflammation of the nerves and surrounding tissues.

Practices to Reduce Discomfort and Promote Healing

When dealing with metatarsalgia, there are simple yet effective measures you can take to relieve pain and facilitate healing.

Rest and elevation of the foot

Avoid activities that worsen the pain and prioritize rest. Elevate your foot by placing it on a cushion or pillow when lying down or sitting. This position helps reduce inflammation and promotes blood circulation.

Application of ice

Applying ice can be beneficial in reducing inflammation and alleviating pain. Wrap an ice pack in a thin cloth and gently apply it to the painful area for about 15 to 20 minutes at regular intervals.

Wearing appropriate shoes

Opt for shoes that provide good support and adequate cushioning at the front of the foot. Choose shoes with a wide toe box that allows your toes to move freely.

Exercises to Relieve Metatarsalgia

By aiming to stretch and strengthen the foot muscles, exercises help reduce pain and improve mobility.

Plantar fascia stretch

Sit on a chair and place a tennis ball under the arch of the affected foot. Gently roll the ball back and forth, applying light pressure to stretch and relax the muscles.

Toe stretches

While keeping the heels on the ground, gently flex the toes upward, stretching the soles. Hold this position for a few seconds, then release it.

Intrinsic foot muscle strengthening

Place a rolled-up towel under your foot. Using your toes, try to grip and pull the towel toward you while keeping your heel on the ground. Repeat this movement several times.

Massage and Therapy Techniques to Relieve Metatarsalgia

In addition to exercises, various massage and therapy techniques can provide additional relief from metatarsalgia.

Foot massage

Use your hands to massage the painful area of the foot gently. Apply moderate pressure and circular motions to stimulate blood circulation and relax the muscles.

Shockwave therapy

This non-invasive therapy uses acoustic waves to stimulate healing and reduce pain. Consult a specialized healthcare professional to determine if this treatment suits your situation.

Adopting Good Practices to Avoid Metatarsal Pain

A few simple yet essential measures can prevent metatarsalgia.

Wearing custom orthotics

At EVO, our experts assess your posture, feet, ankles, and gait. Following the biomechanical examination, we create precise molds to design custom orthotics. It’s a quick solution to regain comfort and mobility. The orthotics fit the shape of your foot and evenly distribute the pressure on the metatarsals. Schedule an appointment now with our orthotists!

Avoiding high-impact activities

Opt for low-impact activities such as swimming or cycling, which put less stress on your feet.

Gradual training

If you’re considering starting a new physical activity like running or jumping, gently progressing is essential. Avoid overstraining your feet and allow them to adapt to the movement slowly. Gradual training can help strengthen the foot muscles and prevent injuries, including metatarsalgia.

Attention to posture and balance

Maintaining good posture and balance is crucial in preventing metatarsal pain. Pay particular attention to the distribution of your body weight during walking, running, or other activities. Avoid overloading the front of your feet, and maintain a balanced posture.

5 Key Points to Remember About Metatarsalgia

  1. Metatarsalgia is a condition that affects the metatarsal bones of the foot, causing debilitating pain.
  2. Common causes include wearing ill-fitting shoes, injuries, posture problems, and excessive physical activity.
  3. Symptoms include intense pain in the front part of the foot, discomfort while walking or in prolonged static positions, and a burning or numbness sensation.
  4. We recommend practical measures such as rest, icing, wearing appropriate shoes, and using orthopedic inserts to heal the pain. Also, you can seek a diagnosis from EVO Laboratory!
  5. Choosing proper footwear, using orthotic inserts, avoiding high-impact activities, training gradually, and paying attention to posture and balance are essential to prevent metatarsalgia.