Also called metatarsalgia, this condition strikes the bones and tissues in the ball of your foot—the front part of the bottom of your foot that lies just behind your toes—causing extreme pain and discomfort and often described as feeling like you have a pebble in your shoe.

There are many factors to consider when diagnosing metatarsal syndrome. Although any one of these can be the main cause, it is usually a combination of several factors. Some of these factors may include:

  • Morton’s neuromaThis growth of fibers around a nerve can cause symptoms similar to metatarsal syndrome and add to the stress on the metatarsal bones, exacerbating both conditions.
  • Stress fracture—This is something your foot doctor will check for using an X-ray or other imaging device. The tiny breaks of a stress fracture are often the cause of pain in the ball of the foot, and can mimic the signs of metatarsalgia.
  • Tight fitting shoes—Women who wear high heels are often diagnosed with metatarsalgia due to the extra weight and pressure they put on the ball of the foot.
  • Hammertoes and bunions—These foot conditions frequently precede a diagnosis of metatarsal syndrome.
  • Obesity—People who are severely overweight are more likely to suffer with metatarsal syndrome since so much of your weight lands on the ball of your foot when you walk.

Conservative treatment for metatarsal syndrome involves resting the foot to relieve stress and pressure. Specially designed metatarsal pads may be worn in your footwear to help isolate the area while it heals. If you are experiencing complications with metatarsalgia, talking to an experienced board-certified podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment is essential.

At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, Dr. Russell Samofal treats a variety of conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problems, pediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritis, nail fungus, arch problems and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Podiatry Center of New Jersey provides individualized high quality care for patients all across Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex counties. Contact our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.