Dr. Berg's Foot Facts

Posts for tag: ball of foot pain

Ball of foot pain is one of the most common types of pain I see in athletes. Whether you're a runner, soccer player, or dancer ball of foot pain can stop you from doing what you love. Your feet are a wondrous, complex system of bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments designed to work together perfectly. And they must. They have a big job to do. Your feet are small relative to the amount of weight they need to hold up and keep in alignment.

Considering the amount of pounding and abuse they take, it's amazing our feet continue to deliver for us. It's not until we feel pain that we start to examine what we might need to do differently to protect them.

When you do experience pain in the ball of your foot or in other parts of your feet, you might wonder why your running partner seems to glide through it all without a twinge. The truth is your athletic pursuits are only part of the puzzle when it comes to assessing why you have pain in the ball of your foot. In fact people who aren't athletes also get ball of foot pain.

What Do I Mean By Ball of Foot Pain?
Ball of foot pain occurs where the toe bones join the metatarsal bones. It can occur in one spot or all across the ball of the foot. Symptoms can range from sharp or shooting pain when the toes are flexed to tingling or numbness in the toes or it can even feel like you're walking on pebbles.

There are many causes of ball of foot pain. To properly diagnose and treat it, I'll ask you questions about your recent physical activity, watch you walk, determine your foot type, and check the types of shoes you're wearing.

The Role of Foot Structure in Ball of Foot Pain
A big factor in developing foot pain lies in the structure of your feet. Some of us have high arches, some have low arches, and some have no arches. High arched feet and feet with no arches can both cause instability in the foot that leads to ball of foot pain by putting extra pressure on the metatarsal bones. Also, a Morton's toe (the second or third toe longer than the big toe) can lead to this condition when weight shifts to the second or third toes.

How Tight Calf Muscles Affect Foot Position
Tight calf muscles can make faulty foot structure worse by increasing the pressure on the metatarsal bones at the front part of your foot.

How Physical Activity Affects the Foot
Our feet can take a lot of pressure, however, the high jumps during a basketball game and the constant pounding from running can be a primary cause of ball of foot pain. It's important to rest when you first feel the pain and not try to play or run through it since you can do further damage to your feet.

How Being Overweight Can Play a Role in Ball of Foot Pain
Being overweight can increase your risk for ball of foot pain. Every extra pound of body weight creates three extra pounds of force when walking and seven pounds when running. For example, a person weighing 200 pounds would place 600 pounds of force on their feet when walking and 1400 pounds of force when running.

The Role of Shoes in Ball of Foot Pain
One of the easiest things to do to decrease ball of foot pain is to change your shoes. Every sport has shoes designed specifically to prevent foot and ankle injuries most common to it. Basketball shoes worn for running will not protect you from running injuries. Likewise, old worn out shoes will not provide the support needed to prevent pain in the ball of your foot. Even when you're not taking part in your favorite sport it's important to keep in mind that high heels and shoes that are pointy and squeeze the front of your foot can also be a factor in your foot pain.

Common Ball of Foot Pain Conditions
Some of the most common ball of foot pain conditions are:

Metatarsalgia - the pain is typically felt on one or more of the five bones (metatarsals) in the mid-portion of the foot.

Neuroma - A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, which can occur in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma of the foot is called Morton's neuroma, It develops between the third and fourth toes of either foot. The incidence of Morton's neuroma is eight to ten times greater in women than in men.

Sesamoiditis - occurs when the tendons surrounding the sesamoids can become irritated or inflamed. Sesamoiditis is a common condition among ballet dancers, runners, and baseball catchers because of the pressures placed on their feet. A form of sesamoiditis called turf toe is also found among soccer players and kickers in football.

Treatment
Acute pain and injury should be treated with ice to decrease swelling. Additional treatment will depend primarily on your diagnosis and foot structure. Orthotics might be dispensed to improve your foot alignment or to relieve pressure on a nerve if implicated in the diagnosis. A program of stretching, often with an Achilles splint, is warranted if you have tight calf muscles. Weight loss may be suggested to relieve pressure on your feet.

New athletic shoes should be purchased annually to ensure they are providing the support you need. Avoid buying lightweight shoes with squishy soles and no solid shank from the heel to the ball of the foot as these will add to your ball of foot pain. Instead purchase a Hoka One One running shoe if running is your sport. It has great shock absorption with a good shank and a rocker sole to prevent your foot from jamming into the ball of your foot. Everyday shoes should be only one inch in height and have a toe box wide enough to accommodate your forefoot.

Finally, all activity should stop until a diagnosis is confirmed by your podiatrist.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

Photo credit: Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

 

 

By Dr. Rion Berg
February 08, 2018
Category: Neuroma

Have you developed pain in the ball of your foot? Many of my patients tell me their pain has come on suddenly and they weren't necessarily engaging in any physical activity such as running or hiking. 

Ball of foot pain occurs where the toe bones join the metatarsal bones. It can occur in one spot or all across the ball of the foot. Most commonly it's localized to one area. There are many causes of ball of foot pain, but the first step is evaluating the foot to determine where it is and whether any specific activities have contributed to it.

Some things that can cause ball of foot pain are:

  • Athletic activities

  • Amount of time you're on your feet

  • Types of shoes you're wearing

  • Mechanical instability of the foot

  • Tight calf muscles

Once we establish the diagnosis we can apply a treatment that will relieve your pain immediately. Following this we can design a treatment plan designed to prevent reoccurence of your ball of the foot pain.

Remember pain in the foot in not normal. Early evaluation and treatment can help resolve your ball of foot pain.

Other Resources
Neuroma
Metatarsalgia
Sesamoiditis

If you have ball of foot pain, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

It's summer, so it's no surprise that my patients are flocking to the stores to get their latest pair of flip flops. Everyday patients come in to see me about complaints ranging from pain in the ball of their foot to Achilles tendonitis. If you're going to wear flip flops that won't cause you pain you'll need to wear the right flip flop for your activity.

If you take your flip flop and it bends in half and easily twists you'll see that it has no support. These are fine for the beach or pool but if you plan to go for a walk of any distance you'll need to choose a more supportive flip flop to prevent injury or other foot problems.

For example, Vionic makes a Unisex Wave Toe Post Sandal that only bend at the ball of the foot, have arch support, and a slight elevation in the heel. These are great for a stroll along the Edmonds waterfront or for short walks around your neighborhood.

Plan to walk more extensively or go for a short hike?  Flip flop like sandals will be the best choice so you don't twist an ankle. Good examples are sandals made by Chaco and Teva. Both have sandals with strapping across the toes and the ankles, good arch support, and allow your toes the freedom to move. Waterproof with rubber bottoms you can cross small streams if you need to.

If you've worn the wrong type of flip flops and are experienced pain, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

For more information about heel pain in runners download our eBook, "The Complete Guide to Stopping Heel Pain in Runners".

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

By Dr. Rion Berg
May 11, 2017
Category: Neuroma

It's summer in Seattle and you're thrilled to be able to walk, bike, and hike more often. With all the increased physical activity you've started to notice pain in the ball of your foot. And you're wondering what's caused it.

Most often ball of foot pain will be in one specific area but sometimes you'll feel it across the entire ball of your foot. The location will depend on what's causing your pain to begin with.

The following conditions bring on ball of foot pain, however, many of these conditions can have similar causes and are made worse by the same things.

Neuroma

A neuroma (or Morton's Neuroma) is an inflamed nerve that runs between your 3rd and 4th toes on one or both feet. The inflammation causes a thickening of the tissues around the nerve. Early stage neuromas often feel like a bunched up sock under your toes and are intermittent. In later stages the symptoms are more constant and described as tingling, numbness, burning, or shooting pain.

People most predisposed to neuromas are those who:

  • wear pointy or high heeled shoes
  • have an abnormal foot structure such as bunions, hammertoes, and flat feet
  • have had foot trauma such as dropping a heavy object on their foot
  • run or participate in a high intensity sport

Capsulitis (under the ball of your foot)

Capsulitis is inflammation of the ligament under the bottom of your foot. The pain can have an aching quality to it or can be sharp at times. These conditions are aggravated by walking barefoot, wearing high heels, or after prolonged activity.

People most predisposed to capsulitis are those who:

  • have abnormal foot mechanics causing the ball of the foot beneath the second toe joint to take on more of the weight bearing; the second toe is often longer than the big toe

  • have a severe bunion deformity

  • have an arch that is structurally unstable

  • have tight calf muscles

Hallux rigidus

Perhaps you're feeling the pain primarily in your big toe, particularly when you walk or run. Very likely you have halllux rigidus also known at big stiff toe.

People most predisposed to hallux rigidus are those who:

  • have faulty foot mechanics such as flat feet

  • have structural abnormalities that can cause osteoarthritis of the big toe

  • an overuse injury or a stubbed toe

Turf toe

Turf toe is a condition that results from hyperextension of the big toe joint as the heel is raised off the ground. An external force is placed on the big toe, and the soft tissue structures that support the big toe on the top are torn or ruptured. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, and swelling of the toe joint. Turf toe can result in hallux rigidus.

People most predisposed to turf toe are those who:

  • Participate in team sports such as soccer and football. Football kickers are particularly at risk.

Metatarsalgia

Pain in the ball of the foot that occurs on one or more bones is called metatarsalgia. It can be specific such as the pain felt with a neuroma between the 3rd and 4th toes or can involve the entire ball of the foot. It can be experienced as sharp, aching, or burning and feels worse when standing, walking, or running.

People most predisposed to metatarsalgia are those who:

  • have a high-arched foot or a foot with very long metatarsal bone

  • participate in high impact sports

  • wear improper shoes such high heel or rigid soled work boots

  • have had a foot injury - from sports, a car accident, or repeated stress

  • work on hard surfaces (cement or tile floors)

  • are overweight

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+

 

Almost everyday I have a patient who complains of ball of foot pain. This is particularly true in the spring and summer with an increase in activities such as walking and hiking. It's also not unusual for a patient to increase their activities to get in shape or lose weight after a long period of not exercising.   

While the pain can have a sudden onset, when I get a detailed history of my patients I often find that they have changed their work or play activities and are spending more time on their feet.

Of course there are many possible diagnoses, but upon complete evaluation I usually find something faulty in their foot mechanics that in combination with increased activity, has produced the pain. Pain present directly under one joint will often help me differentiate the problem from tendon or nerve problems.

I also look for presence of bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet, high arches, neuromas, and tight heel cords/Achilles. Orthotics, physical therapy and use of special daily splinting for a limited time, can usually resolve the problem.

Summer is a time for outdoor fun. Don’t stand for foot pain. It is not normal and the faster you get it evaluated and treated, the faster you will be able to return to enjoy your spring and summer activities.

Additional Information
Video - What Causes Ball of Foot Pain?
Video - What Is Morton's Neuroma?
Ball of Foot Pain

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Your free foot book "No More Foot Pain" is waiting to be sent to your home.

In addition, our newsletter "Foot Sense" comes out monthly.  You can also check out our past issues. Every issue contains a mouth-watering recipe and can be printed out for easier reading!

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

Follow Dr. Berg on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+