Pain associated with the middle toes of the foot is most likely Metatarsalgia. This painful foot disorder results in swelling and inflammation of the joints and bones making up the ball of the foot area. Other symptoms can include sharp pain behind the toes in the ball of foot area. Pain increases with any activity that causes weight transfer to the toes, running, walking, jumping, or standing on hard surfaces for extended periods.
This disorder can occur to active people from constant pressure of their weight as it transfers to the toes as they walk, run/jog or jump. People engaging in a sporting activity are most susceptible; although, people who have jobs that require long periods of standing or walking are just as susceptible.
Despite the pain and discomfort, Metatarsalgia is not a serious condition; however, as with any painful condition, it can effect your activity and lifestyle because of the restricted foot movement. People experiencing pain relating to Metatarsalgia may find it difficult to perform any type of activity that forces weight transfer to the toe region, jumping, for example.
While the condition may seem to come on all at once, Metatarsalgia actually develops over a period of weeks or months. Age is a factor as older people are more susceptible due to a decreased amount of natural cushioning in the forefoot area. Athletes who continuously train by participation in running, jumping or related activities are highly susceptible to contracting this disorder.
Treatment for debilitating disorder includes rest, ice packs several times a day for the first few days to reduce swelling
and keeping stress off the balls of the feet. Mild medication such as ibuprofen helps to reduce swelling and pain. Most cases require only mild treatment. Switching to low impact activities such as swimming, to rest the afflicted area is recommended.
For people who must remain active, a simple solution that will reduce discomfort is to wear shock absorbing, cushioning insoles, preferably ones that include a metatarsal pad. Spenco and Pedag are two manufacturer’s that offer several qualityfoot care products that can prevent and provide relief for Metatarsalgia.