Ball of foot pain is oftentimes termed “Metatarsalgia”, because the long and graceful metatarsal bones contact the ground at the ball of the foot. The 5 metatarsal bones work together to help absorb impact and provide a “metatarsal arch”; however, excess impact, chronic misalignment of one or more of the metatarsals, and hereditary malformation of the metatarsals can create a condition in which the ball of your foot becomes painful and inflamed.

High impact sports like running or jumping as well as ill-fitting shoes with little to no support can also exacerbate symptoms.  Many times, a callous will form over the high-pressure areas; abnormal boney alignment of the metatarsals can decrease the normal, springy arch like architecture across the ball of the foot. The ball of the foot gets wider, and oftentimes toes become crooked and misaligned as well.

Commonly, a burning or stinging pain occurs with standing and walking. This is a “splay foot”, or an abnormal spreading of the ball of the foot, making shoe fit challenging-because your heel width has changed very little.