6 Causes of Metatarsal Syndrome


The part of the foot around the metatarsal bones (toe bones), including the ball of the foot, is particularly susceptible to irritation from all the force that repeatedly comes down on it during walking, jogging, and playing sports. Extreme pain and discomfort can occur in a condition known as metatarsal syndrome, which is similar to the more widely known carpal tunnel syndrome that affects the wrist.

Metatarsal syndrome may be caused by or accompanied with one or more of the following:

  1. Hard training and playing—Participants in rigorous, high impact activities such as football, tennis, and basketball are more susceptible to developing metatarsalgia.

  2. Hairline fractures—Stress fractures in the toe bones (metatarsals) may be the cause of pain in this area, so imaging studies are necessary to confirm this.

  3. Shoes that fit poorly—Never wear athletic shoes that are too old and excessively worn. Poorly fitting shoes are a major cause of many foot and ankle problems.

  4. Obesity—Losing excess pounds will reduce the pressure on the ball of the foot, decreasing the chances of developing metatarsal problems.

  5. NeuromaThis type of nerve anomaly often affects the third and fourth toes and can cause considerable pain and discomfort.

  6. Arthritic conditions— Inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis can increase the likelihood of contracting metatarsalgia.

Treatment for metatarsal syndrome

Treatment requires resting the foot and wearing properly fitted shoes. Specially designed orthotic shoe inserts can be placed by your foot doctor to relieve the pressure on a specific part of the foot, greatly decreasing pain and discomfort.

Pain in the ball of your foot may be caused by conditions that have very similar symptoms, so always see your podiatrist for the proper diagnosis and treatment. At E.J. Nemet Podiatry in Twinsburg,  E.J. Nemet, DPM,treats a variety of foot and ankle conditions, including sports injuriespediatric foot problems, diabetic foot complications, nerve disorders, and toenail and skin conditions. With advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Dr. Nemet provides expert and compassionate care to patients in the Twinsburg and Beachwood areas. To contact us or to schedule an appointment, please call (234) 212-9940.