Metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain)

Footlogic: The science of walking comfort


Metatarsalgia is a general term used to denote pain
and/or a burning sensation in the plantar forefoot pad under the metatarsal heads, an area commonly known as the ‘ball of the foot’. Sometimes the patient may describe the pain as a lump underneath the ball of the foot. Applying pressure to the plantar surface of the metatarsal heads may elicit pain. Often an area of thick callous is present in the affected area.Differential diagnosis of Metatarsalgia is Morton’s Neuroma, which exhibits more localised sharp pain as the interdigital nerves between the metatarsal heads become impinged.


Metatarsalgia can be attributed to excessive pronation as it can cause the transverse arch to lower and/or collapse. When a foot is pronated excessively for any length of time, there is a progressive weakening of the soft tissue structures. In the forefoot, excess pronation leads to plantarflexion and rotation of the metatarsals. This results in shearing forces on the forefoot structure, causing inflammation and pain.


footlogics orthotics are useful in the treatment of Metatarsalgia by correcting excess pronation. In addition the in-built metatarsal support at the dorsal surface of the orthotic will aid in restoring the foot’s natural transverse arch thus relieving pressure and pain. Footlogics orthotics re-align the metatarsal heads by dorsiflexing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsals to their neutral position. By controlling excess pronation Footlogics also prevents plantarflexion and shearing of the metatarsal shafts. A more even weight distribution across the metatarsal bones reduces excess pressure and friction in the forefoot, which commonly causes the callous formation and burning sensation.

Metatarsalgia in high heels/fashion shoes

Metatarsalgia is very common in female patients who mostly wear tight fashion shoes with a medium to high heel, especially when walking in this type of footwear for longer periods of time.

The obvious reason here is that when wearing heels, around 80% of the person’s body weight pushes into the forefoot. The result is plantarflexion of the metatarsals and severe weakening of the surrounding ligaments. The entire forefoot structure will collapse in turn leading to excess pressure and friction under the ball of the foot.

Against doctor’s advice, most women will simply continue wearing tight, high heeled shoes and suffer the consquences…

Footlogics High Heel Comfort orthotics restore biomechanical balance by supporting the longitudinal arch as well as the metatarsal bones. This means that body weight is distributed more evenly preventing excessive pressure and friction in the ball of the foot. As a result there’s a reduction of pain and the associated burning sensation, especially with longer periods of standing or walking.

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