Metatarsalgia is a medical term used to denote a painful foot condition in the metatarsal area of the foot (the area commonly referred to as the ball-of-the-foot). Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot-pain) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).
In this foot condition, one or more of the metatarsal heads become inflamed, usually due to repeated pressure over a long duration. improper fitting footwear, with a narrow toe box (toe area) pushes the metatarsal area into a minimal amount of space. Metatarsalgia can disturb the walking process and lead to extreme discomfort in the forefoot. As the age advances the fat pad in the foot tends to thin out, making older individuals much more susceptible to pain in the ball-of-the-foot.
Footwear designed with a high, wide toe box (toe area) and a rocker sole is ideal for alleviating metatarsalgia as the wide toe box allows the foot to spread out while the rocker sole reduces stress on the ball-of-the-foot. Inserts like Metatarsal pads can unload the pressure on the ball-of-the-foot. Other products often suggested include gel metatarsal cushions and metatarsal bandages to reduce stress on the metatarsal area and permit smooth walking.
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