Metatarsalgia is a medical term describing pain in the area of the metatarsophalangeal joints of your foot. This is a common term to describe pain along the ball of your foot that can be a symptom of forefoot conditions like Morton’s toe, stress fracture, and arthrosis. Typically most people experience this condition in their 2nd-4th metatarsal heads with or without collapse of the transverse metatarsal arch, which is the functional arch that runs horizontally across the forefoot. People will describe this feeling as stepping on a pebble, or sharp pain in the forefoot.

This can be caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Lax ligaments from a collapsed arch
  • Increased biomechanical pressure from pregnancy or being overweight
  • 1st ray is not being used, causing excess weight shift to the second and third metatarsals
  • Shifting weight from rearfoot to forefoot (heels, improper toe box, worn down shoes)
  • Improper gait/pronation mechanics
  • Overuse, including on hard surfaces

If you have classically high arches, which are called Pes Cavus, you may need metatarsal support, in the use of a pad or orthotic. Of course, it is super important to have the right diagnosis as you could be suffering from the inverse injury Pes Planus, an abnormally flattened longitudinal arch where corrective exercises can be used to functionally strengthen your arch.

If this is an acute case, we have found the best results utilizing Winback Tecar Therapy and utilizing Kinesiotape for pain and functional reinforcement. This gives us a window to attack the root cause of their dysfunction and strengthen the intrinsic foot musculature to alleviate pressure on the metatarsal joints. Mobilization/Manipulation can be utilized if clinically indicated and stretching the hamstrings and calves can also be given in addition to proper shoe wear.

If you are looking for help regarding your foot pain, give us a call today at 727-228-3030 or schedule an appointment online at

Dr. Caleb Hebert

Dr. Caleb Hebert

Doctor of Chiropractic

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