Many runners usually develop pain in the ball of the foot which is called as metatarsalgia. It is important to note that the bones under the feet are called as metatarsals. Due to the impact sustained from running, it adds pressure on the ends of these bones, resulting to foot pain. Prolonged running can eventually lead to ligament injury and irritation of the joint in the feet. The other types of foot injuries include plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.
Signs and symptoms of metatarsalgia
If you suspect that an individual is suffering from metatarsalgia, there are symptoms to watch out for. It includes a dull ache in the ball of the foot, formation of calluses, pain that forces the individual to walk on the exterior side of the foot and inability to walk barefoot due to intense pain.
What are the causes and preventive measures?
If the individual runs on surfaces that do not absorb shock, it can cause foot pain as well as overuse injuries. Nevertheless, using the incorrect footwear is one of the primary causes of foot pain among runners. With this in mind, only wear shoes that provide support, built with a wide toe box and do not have high, thick heels.
The shoes that must be used should be half to a full size bigger than the regular shoes used by the individual to provide enough room for the feet since they tend to swell when running. Always remember to replace the shoes every 300-400 miles since they will lose stability, cushioning and shock absorption. Additionally, shoe inserts are also recommended especially the metatarsal pads.
The metatarsalgia pain usually responds well to the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Take note that this method can help reduce the pain and swelling while preventing further injury. The individual should rest in order to allow the feet to heal. The application of ice is also useful in relieving the pain. As for compression, wrap the ball of the foot using an Ace bandage to provide relief from the metatarsalgia pain and diminish the amount of swelling. The foot must also be elevated on cushions or pillows higher than the level of the heart. If you want to learn more about this treatment option, click here.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also be given to the individual to relieve the symptoms. If the foot pain persists or the RICE method does not seem to work, it is best to consult a doctor. In such cases, custom orthotics might be prescribed to reduce the weight from the balls of the feet.
Those who engage in high-impact sports face a higher risk for foot injuries. Runners usually experience constant trauma on the feet but there are also others who are physically active who are also exposed to foot injuries such as metatarsalgia.