Metatarsal pads are a simple item that can have tremendously positive effects on your well being. Many people go throughout their daily life suffering from sore feet. A common cause of this problem is metatarsalgia. If you suffer from this ailment, it’s good to know that you are not alone in seeking metatarsalgia treatment. Before you know how to cope with this nagging discomfort, such as using gel pads orthotic inserts, you must first know more about the causes and symptoms.
Signs That You May Need Metatarsal Support
Metatarsalgia is a pain in the ball of the foot. The region of the foot where the pain occurs is known as the metatarsal region. Metatarsal pain can range from a mild pain to one that is so severe that it hurts to stand or move. The pain is often a dull ache but can also be characterized by burning or tingling, and shooting pains in the toes. The precise area where pain is the worst is where the second to fourth toes meet the ball of the feet. Trying to walk will often feel like you are walking with a pebble in your shoe or walking over suitably rough ground.
Symptoms of Metatarsalgia
A pain in the ball of the foot is the most definite and common sign that you are suffering from metatarsalgia, but other symptoms can range from a sharp, aching or burning pain in the metatarsal area of the foot. The ball of the foot is the area where the toes meet the sole, and the pain will almost always increase when pressure is applied during activities such as:
- jumping or skipping rope
- even something a simple and common as standing up
Other symptoms to be noted when discussing metatarsalgia are pain in the fourth, third, and second toe, or in the big toe, though there is rarely any discomfort in the smallest toe. The toes may feel numb or tingle and walking will become uncomfortable and will often feel as though there is a small stone or pebble in your shoe. This metatarsal pain will generally worsen over time as the metatarsal bones in the foot become more damaged.
Causes of Metatarsalgia
The pain in the ball of the foot noted by sufferers of metatarsalgia is due to damage to the metatarsal bones. There are five metatarsal bones that run along the sole of the foot, connecting the toe bones to the ankle. These bones are present in order to facilitate walking, giving balance and support during activities such as running, jumping, walking, and pushing up with the feet. Pain in this region is caused by many reasons, one common one being badly fitting footwear. Metatarsal pads can soften the force that these activities place on your feet.
Badly fitting footwear will cause you to walk abnormally, applying increased amounts of pressure to the ball of the foot. Shoes that are restrictive, too tight or narrow at the toes, or high-heeled are all bad for the feet, and wearing them for increased amounts of time will heighten the risk of metatarsalgia. Being obese or overweight is another common cause. Once again, this applies too much pressure to the ball of the foot, thus creating the need for extra cushioning.
Old age is another common cause of metatarsalgia. The fatty pads that protect the foot can wear thin with age, making them more susceptible to pain when walking. The actual shape of the foot can also be a contributing factor. Flat feet and narrow or high-arched feet all increase the chances of developing the ailment. Also, pressure is added to the foot from practicing and participating in high impact sports such as:
Stress fractures occurring from high impact activities can add to sore feet.
Medical Causes of Metatarsalgia
Metatarsal pain is often caused by the way that you walk, so as well as causes such as poor fitting shoes, there are several medical conditions that can cause the ailment. Arthritis, gout, and bunions can all cause metatarsalgia, as can hammertoe and diabetes. The condition can be caused by abnormalities in the structure of the foot such as with bunions, or in the case of diabetes it is damage to the nerve endings of the feet that can eventually cause pain in the metatarsal region.
Metatarsalgia Treatment Options
There are several self-care treatments and remedies that can be used in order to alleviate the characteristic pain that sufferers of metatarsalgia suffer from. Resting the foot and applying ice packs and compresses can help alleviate the pain, most especially when the foot is elevated.
Painkillers will help with the immediate pain of metatarsalgia and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen also help by keeping swelling down. Special cushioned insoles can absorb shock and can also help ease symptoms. Supports like the previously mentioned pads are generally available in pharmacies, and special orthotic inserts are also available. Metatarsal style pads come in several varieties, such as foam and gel pads. When the pain is so severe as to interfere with daily life, surgery is another option to repair the damage to the foot.
When discussing whether or not pads and metatarsalgia treatments are right for you, it should also be remembered that wearing appropriate footwear and taking care of your feet could indeed have prevented the majority of cases. Comfort is the most important concern for your feet before fashion, and for sports, special and appropriate footwear should always be worn, and preventative pads may help avoid potential problems. This, coupled with maintaining your optimum weight should prevent the onset of the condition, promoting healthy and pain-free feet.