Causes of Pain in the Forefoot

by | Sep 7, 2016 | General Foot Care

Sometimes an injury or illness has a specific, identifiable cause. In other cases, a certain set of symptoms (or even a more specific injury) might arise from a wide variety of possible factors, in isolation or combination, and uncovering the source might take some detective work.

That’s definitely the case for forefoot pain—also known as ball of foot pain or metatarsalgia. One of the things we’re good at is starting from a more generic complaint (“My foot hurts!”) and narrowing down the list of possibilities, so that in the end you get a correct diagnosis, and a treatment plan that works.

Some of the many potential causes, contributing factors, and/or diagnosable conditions of pain in the forefoot include:

  • Structural foot deformities. Misalignments in the way your foot is shaped (such as flat feet or bunions) can place added pressure, and cause pain, in the balls of the feet.
  • Bad shoes. High heels and tight toe boxes are the biggest culprits, but any shoe that doesn’t fit your feet or provide the necessary cushioning or support can lead to foot pain, including forefoot pain.
  • Simply put, the heavier you are, the more pressure your feet have to manage on a daily basis.
  • Lots of running, jumping, or athletic activity without necessary rest periods can irritate bones and tissues in the forefeet over time.
  • These are thickened masses of nerve tissue that may form between toes, particularly the third and fourth. It may feel like you’ve got a pebble permanently stuck in your shoe.
  • Stress fractures. If you wear out the soft tissues that provide natural shock absorption, impact forces get transferred more and more to metatarsal bones, which may crack them.
  • Sesamoiditis or sesamoid fracture. Your sesamoids are tiny bones in the forefoot that act as a fulcrum for tendons that move your big toe, but they can be injured for a variety of reasons.

Because the best treatment approach depends on a correct diagnosis, we strongly recommend you visit Dr. Truong at the Kansas Foot Center for forefoot pain that is severe or lasts longer that a few days. Our goal is to get you back on your feet and living to your fullest, and the best way to achieve it is through early, proactive intervention. Often, conservative care is more than enough to resolve most cases of forefoot pain.

To set an appointment with the doctor, please call 866.222.5177 today. You can also request an appointment online by filling out our convenient contact form.