Metatarsalgia: What Is A “Stone Bruise?”

What Is Metatarsalgia?

metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia, also known as a “stone bruise” refers to pain or aching that occurs in the ball of the foot (the area between the toes and the arch). It is a very common condition, affecting millions in the U.S. every year. Fortunately, it is not a dangerous medical condition and can be easily remedied in most cases.

Causes

  • Ill-fitted shoes
  • Distance running
  • Intense training
  • Having a high arch
  • Hammertoe
  • Wearing high heels excessively
  • “Morton’s Toe”
  • Broken toe bones
  • Noncancerous tumors of the foot
  • Being overweight
  • Inflammatory arthritis

Types

There is only one type of metatarsalgia.

Symptoms

  • Sharp pain in the ball of the foot
  • Aches in the ball of the foot
  • Foot pain when standing or walking
  • Shooting pain in the foot
  • Sensation of having a pebble in your shoe

ball of foot pain

Diagnosis

Your primary care physician can diagnose metatarsalgia based on your reported symptoms. They may have you keep a journal for a short period of time that details when you experience foot pain and what you were doing at the time or what shoes you were wearing at the time. If your metatarsalgia is very severe and persistent, they may refer you to a podiatrist to check for other foot problems that can cause similar symptoms.

Treatment

The most common and most effective treatment for metatarsalgia is changing the lifestyle habits that are leading to the foot pain. If your metatarsalgia is caused by ill-fitted shoes or wearing high heels, you can make sure to wear shoes that fit properly and reduce the time that you spend wearing high heels (or eliminate high heels altogether). If your metatarsalgia has been brought on by excessive weight, losing weight can resolve the condition. Distance running or intensive training should be practiced in moderation and done in adequate footwear to reduce the likelihood of metatarsalgia.

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