Running with Metatarsalgia

by | Dec 16, 2014 | Sports Injuries

Metatarsalgia is described by runners as a stabbing, burning, or aching pain in the ball of their foot and/or under their toes.Overuse and overtraining are very common causes of metatarsalgia due to joint and ligamentous irritation. Some of the most common foot abnormalities responsible for metatarsalgia include:

  • Hypermobile 1st ray
  • Elevated 1st ray
  • Post-op Bunion surgery
  • Hallux Limitus/Rigidus
  • Tight calf or Achilles tendon
  • Pes cavus or high-arched foot

A majority of the factors listed above place a greater amount of pressure, loading, and strain to the second, third or fourth metatarsal heads; the most common location for this to occurs is under the metatarsophalangeal joint of the second toe.Metatarsalgia may result in swelling to the ‘ball’ of the foot and sometimes callouses. If you believe you are experiencing metatarsalgia, it is best to either decrease your weekly mileage or take a break from running for a while. Another thing to consider is if your current running shoes have excessive mileage-I often see this as a common factor.  Constantly running on your feet with this painful condition can ultimately prolong the situation and potentially lead to more complications (such as neuromas and metatarsal stress fractures) and other injuries down the road.


  • Rest, ice, NSAIDs
  • Compression with an Ace bandage
  • Metatarsal pads
  • Custom foot orthotics
  • Replace your worn out running shoes around every 400 miles
  • Purchase sneakers with more forefoot cushioning for better shock absorption while running
  • Purchase sneakers with a wider toe box so your toes don’t squeeze together

If metatarsalgia is slowing you down, give us a call today at 721-4007.