What Causes Pain in the Ball of the Foot?

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What Causes Pain in the Ball of the Foot?
What Causes Pain in the Ball of the Foot? (sxc.hu)

Pain in the ball of the foot, also known as metatarsalgia, can be caused by a number of factors. Pressures of daily activities can really take a toll on your feet. It is important to take good care of your feet, as they need to last you your entire life. Learning what causes pain and discomfort in this area can help you avoid it and have healthy feet that will keep you moving as long as you live.

Nerve Damage in the Foot

Damage to the nerves can also pain and discomfort. Neuromas, benign nerve growths, can form around the nerves in the ball of the foot. These typically form around the base of the third and fourth toes, which is also where the pain will be felt. Irritation of the nerves in the area can also uncomfortable.

Joint Pain

Pain can often arise in the ball of the foot if the joins are not correctly aligned. This causes them to rub together in awkward motions, wearing down the cartilage between the two joints. Joint pain can also be caused by arthritis and stiffening of the joints. Those suffering with these joint problems often have an altered motion of walking.


Sesamoiditis refers to the pain felt in the ball of the foot near the base of the big toe. This discomfort is generally caused by injuring the area often. Dancers and joggers are more likely to suffer from this condition as they are on their feet often and sometimes twirl on their toes. Wearing high heels daily can also cause sesamoiditis. Walking typically worsens the problem and the area may become swollen and warm to the touch if the condition is present.

Poorly Fitting Footwear

Improperly fitting shoes can be the culprit of pain the ball of the foot. High heels and other footwear that is extremely tight on the foot, especially toward the toes, can lead to discomfort over time. Heels place most of your body weight on the ball of your foot, which can wear it down over time. It is recommended to wear these type of shoes as little as possible and slip them off when you can, such as when at your desk at work.

Being Overweight

Your feet have to bear all your body weight as you walk throughout the day, and pain in the ball of the foot can occur if you are carrying excess weight. This is especially true given that with every step you take, your weight shifts to the front of your foot as you push off the ground. Losing weight can sometimes help and alleviate foot pain in this area.

High-Impact Activites

Running, jumping and other exercises that cause you to place added force on the feet can lead to pain and discomfort. This is especially true if you where shoes that are worn out or do not fit well while performing these activities. Purchase good footwear specifically designed for these activities and rest your feet after long periods of training.

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