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Ball Of Foot Pain – Causes And Treatment

Depending on your stride, there’s a very good chance that the first part of your foot to strike the ground when walking is the ball of your foot. If you’re dealing with pain in your heel, that means every step you take brings pain, and that’s no way to go through life! Whether you’ve recently suffered trauma to the heel or you have slowly developed chronic discomfort in the area, know that Dr. McDonald and his team are here to help you get back to walking without discomfort. In today’s blog, we explore some of the common causes and treatment options for people dealing with pain in the ball of their foot.

Common Causes Of Ball Of Foot Pain

There are a number of reasons why pain may develop on the underside of your heel, so it’s important to have a conversation with your doctor or a foot and ankle specialist if you’ve started to deal with discomfort in the ball of your foot. Let’s explore some of the most common causes:

  • Heel Bruise/Heel Fracture – If you land hard on the balls of your feet or you’re a runner or an athlete who puts regular stress on your heels, it’s possible that you suffered a heel bruise or even a small fracture.
  • Metatarsalgia – Metatarsalgia is a foot condition categorized by swelling and inflammation in the heel area, oftentimes caused by repetitive stress or poor-fitting shoes.
  • Plantar Fasciitis – Plantar fasciitis is a condition we’ve documented many times on the blog before, and it occurs when the thick band of tissue on the underside of your foot becomes damaged or inflamed. This tissue connects your heel to your toes, so depending on where the damage occurs, symptoms may present in the heel area.
  • Morton’s Neuroma/Sesamoiditis – Both of these conditions involve inflammation or a thickening of soft tissues like nerves or tendons in the foot. They tend to be more common in the ball of your foot instead of your heel, but they are still conditions that your doctor will want to rule out when taking a closer look at your foot.

Treating Ball Of Foot Pain

As you can imagine, treatment will be based on the individual condition you are facing, so the first step in treatment involves an accurate diagnosis. To do this, head to Dr. McDonald or a similar foot and ankle specialist in your area. They’ll begin by reviewing your medical chart, asking about your symptoms and conducting a physical exam of the foot and heel. They may even have you perform a few movements or steps to see how your foot responds to stress.

Depending on their conclusions, they may opt to confirm their suspicions with the help of imaging tests like an X-ray, MRI or CT scan. Based on this information, they will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan.

In most instances, your doctor will begin by having you pursue some conservative care techniques. Again, these will be tailored to your individual needs, but many patients are told to pursue a combination of the following treatments:

  • Rest/Activity modification
  • Footwear changes
  • Weight loss
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthotic inserts
  • Hot/Cold therapy
  • Walking boots
  • Massage therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Elevation

Many patients experience enough relief through a combination of these efforts to avoid more invasive treatments, but if pain persists, your doctor may try to take a more hands-on approach. In these instances, treatments like corticosteroid injections or a minimally invasive procedure to address an underlying soft tissue or bone fracture in or around the heel may be recommended. These treatments have high rates of success but typically are not needed for most mild to moderate cases of heel pain.

Walking shouldn’t be a painful activity, and it doesn’t have to be if you trust your care to Dr. McDonald and his team. Let us help you get back to walking without discomfort in your heel. For more information, or for help with a different foot or ankle issue, give Dr. McDonald and his team a call today at (860) 244-8889.

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