Pain under the ball of the foot and second toe can occur for several reasons. Recently a friend returned home from a trip to see her mom. Her mother had been complaining about pain under the ball of her right foot directly beneath her second right toe. After seeing pictures of her mom's foot and understanding the symptoms I was able to formulate a possible diagnosis.  

Causes of Pain

Bunions or the bony protuberance that forms on the side of the big toe joint can be very painful and can also cause other problems with the foot. In the case of my friend's mother, she clearly has a bunion which has shifted her second toe and became a hammertoe. Hammertoes can cause the toe to lift placing undo pressure on the ball of the foot and can also cause pain at the top from rubbing against shoes.

Another condition, metatarsalgia occurs when one of the metatarsal bones (the toe bones) becomes inflamed and painful. Causes of metatarsalgia can include arthritis, foot injury, working long hours on hard surfaces, and certain types of rigid-soled footwear.

Capsulitis is a painful condition that occurs when the ligaments surrounding the toes becomes inflamed. If this condition goes untreated it can lead to dislocation of the toe. The most common cause is faulty foot mechanics where the ball of the foot beneath the toe joint takes on a lot of weight-bearing pressure. In addition to having a bunion, other foot problems that can cause capsulitis are a second toe longer than the big toe, an unstable arch, and tight calf muscles.


Although treatment varies for each of these conditions, they all will be helped by wearing supportive shoes and an insert or orthotic.

If you feel pain in the ball of your foot or under your second toe, make an appointment today at the Foot and Ankle Center of Lake by calling 206-368-7000 or requesting an appointment online.

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