- Risk Factors
- Related Resources
Home remedies that can help relieve ball of foot pain include:
- Getting adequate rest
- Applying ice packs to the affected area for minutes at a time several times a day
- Elevating the foot after prolonged standing or walking
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as Advil (ibuprofen) or Aleve (naproxen sodium to reduce pain and inflammation
- Using a pumice stone on the foot to help remove calluses
- Using metatarsal pads in your shoes to help reduce stress on the area
- Avoiding walking barefoot or in high heels
- Wearing shoes with supportive soles (shock-absorbing insoles or arch supports)
- Avoiding high-intensity sports or training
In some cases, a corticosteroid injection into the affected site or surgery may be necessary to resolve the underlying cause of pain.
Although pain in the ball of the foot is not serious and easily treated with lifestyle modifications, talk to your doctor if your foot pain lasts more than a few days or if the pain does not improve even after modifying your activities.
What does pain in the ball of the foot feel like?
The primary symptom of metatarsalgia is pain under the ball of the foot with or without bruising and swelling or inflammation.
Other symptoms may develop over time, including:
- Sharp, aching, or burning pain in the foot
- Pain in the foot aggravated by standing, running, or walking
- Numbness or tingling in the toes
- Feeling as of having a pebble in your shoe
Untreated metatarsalgia can lead to hammertoes—a condition in which the toe buckles cause the middle joint of the affected toe to poke out. This condition may cause limping and pain in other parts of the body, including the hips and lower back.
What causes pain in the ball of the foot?
Pain in the ball of the foot is called metatarsalgia and typically affects the area where the toes attach to the foot. It is termed metatarsalgia because the pain centers under the five bones at the bases of the toes—the metatarsals.
Metatarsalgia can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:
- Wearing poorly fitting shoes (too tight or loose) or high heels
- Intense training or activities involving running and jumping
- Excess weight
- Congenital foot deformities
- Stress fractures
- Bunions (a protrusion of the bone that forms on the first metatarsophalangeal joint)
- Morton's neuroma (noncancerous growth of fibrous tissue around a nerve between the third and fourth metatarsals)
- Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or gout
What are risk factors for pain in the ball of the foot?
Although anyone can get metatarsalgia, the following people are more at risk of developing the condition:
- Athletes who participate in high-impact sports
- People who spend more time on their forefoot
- People with congenital high arches
- People with abnormal foot structure (second toe longer than the big toe)
- People with foot deformities including hammertoes and bunions
How is pain in the ball of the foot diagnosed?
Your doctor will confirm a diagnosis of metatarsalgia by analyzing your symptoms and examining your foot manually.
Tests that may be ordered to rule out other conditions include:
- The Predicted 'Tripledemic' Is Here: Why Isn't There an RSV Vaccine?
- Frozen Stuffed Chicken Products & Microwave Ovens: A Recipe for Salmonella
- First FDA-Approved Fecal-Based Treatment Helps Fight a Tough Superbug
- Seizures Seem Tied to Faster Decline in People With Dementia
- Signs That COVID Infection Might Harm the Liver
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Metatarsalgia. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15890-metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/metatarsalgia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354790
Foot Pain and Problems. Johns Hopkins Medicine https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/foot-pain-and-problems
Top How Do You Relieve Pain in the Ball of Your Foot Related Articles
Diabetes Foot ProblemsLearn more about diabetes related foot problems. For people with diabetes, too much glucose in the blood can cause serious foot complications such as nerve damage, infection, and ulcers. Find tips for proper foot care to help prevent serious complications.
Feet Facts QuizDid you know that certain shoes and common diseases can wreak havoc on your feet? If you've been having problems with your feet, this quiz is for you.
Foot PainFoot pain may be caused by injuries (sprains, strains, bruises, and fractures), diseases (diabetes, Hansen disease, and gout), viruses, fungi, and bacteria (plantar warts and athlete's foot), or even ingrown toenails. Pain and tenderness may be accompanied by joint looseness, swelling, weakness, discoloration, and loss of function. Minor foot pain can usually be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation and OTC medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Severe pain should be treated by a medical professional.
Diabetes Foot ProblemsDiabetes related foot problems can affect your health with two problems: diabetic neuropathy, where diabetes affects the nerves, and peripheral vascular disease, where diabetes affects the flow of blood. Common foot problems for people with diabetes include athlete's foot, fungal infection of nails, calluses, corns, blisters, bunions, dry skin, foot ulcers, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and plantar warts.
Foot Pain SlideshowLearn about common causes of foot pain such as bunions, corns, athlete's foot, plantar warts and more. Get the latest information on treatments for foot pain.
How Do You Make Your Feet Stop Hurting While Working?Aching feet can result from wearing the wrong footwear, improper foot care, and excess weight gain. Learn 10 tips to relieve sore feet and how you can prevent them in the future.
Feet & Your HealthFoot pain and heel pain can be signs of serious health problems. Discover information about cold feet, itchy feet, burning feet and swollen feet. Learn how psoriasis, lung problems, and diabetes can cause foot symptoms.
What Stops Feet From Hurting?The best strategy to cure your sore feet is to rest and recuperate appropriately. Additionally, wearing orthotics will provide support for your feet throughout the day.
Why Do High Heels Hurt My Feet?Wearing high heels may create several foot problems because the foot is positioned downward, resulting in tremendous pressure being applied to the plantar (bottom) region of the forefoot.
The Worst Shoes for Your FeetStilettos, platforms or flip-flops... which are the worst shoes for your feet? See how some of the hottest styles can be torture on your feet, learn how damage and foot pain can occur, and discover how to stop foot pain.