Foot and Ankle Sports Medicine Share Tweet Pin Share Image via Wikipedia Acute ball-of-foot pain symptoms can indicate the presence of Metatarsalgia, a medical condition which involves inflammation to the nerves attached to the metatarsal bones. Metatarsalgia is a common occurrence among runners, basketball players, tennis players, and other athletes involved in high-impact sports. It is also frequent among women who wear high-heel shoes for long periods at a time. Common Symptoms of Metatarsalgia People afflicted by metatarsalgia experiences sharp pain in the area of the sole directly behind the toes, more commonly known as the balls of our feet. The footache can be acute, burning, or dull, and is most often felt near the big toe, though it can also occur under the middle toes. These are the most frequent symptoms related to metatarsal foot pain: An acute pain in the toe area Lack of sensation or tingling of the toes The pain gets worse when flexing the feet. The pain worsens when walking barefoot, particularly on hard surfaces. The ache worsens when you run, walk, or stand for long periods, and improves after resting. A feeling like you're walking on rocks Metatarsalgia: Typical Causes The metatarsal bones take the brunt of our weight when pushing-off while running or jumping, which can be the equivalent to several times your body weight. Among the frequent causes of metatarsal foot pain are extreme sports training, irregular foot anatomy, being overweight, improper footwear, and frequent wearing of high-heel shoes. Possible Complications If the symptoms of metatarsal foot pain are not treated in a timely manner, this condition can deteriorate to more severe ailments such as loss of range of motion, injury to foot ligaments, problems with the toes, and chronic stiffness. In extreme cases, necrosis can develop and collapse the entire bone structure. Metatarsal Foot Pain Treatment Approach Healing metatarsal foot pain in most cases does not require extreme measures. The most recommended treatments for metatarsal foot pain are: Relax - Avoid stressing your feet by getting some rest. In short time you may participate in low-impact activities such as swimming, rowing, or cycling. Use Ice - Use ice packs on the area of pain for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Wear properly-fitting shoes - Shoes need to fit properly and be of the suitable for the type of activity that you plan to get involved in. Wear arch support inserts - The use of suitable arch support inserts can provide the needed sustainment to reduce pressure on the metatarsal area. Wearing arch support inserts can be an essential part of most treatments for metatarsal foot pain. Wearing metatarsal pads can also help to reduce the pressure around the metatarsal area. In most cases involving metatarsal foot pain do not require medical treatment. It is normal for our feet to experience pain after a long day of standing or intense physical activity. Consult a physician if the pain or burning sensation if the metatarsal foot pain does not improve after altering your activities and wearing arch support inserts. Having pain in the metatarsals can be an unpleasant experience, but by taking the proper care of your feet with the treatment options recommended above you can return to your normal activities in a short amount of time. The orthotic insoles designed by foot care researchers at Footminders are highly recommended by many podiatrists and specialty foot care stores. These products are the result of years of extensive foot care research by foot care professionals. You can find more information and treatment for many types of foot pain at www.footminders.com.