What are the causes of metatarsal pain?

It is important to note that metatarsal pain or metatarsalgia is triggered by various conditions affecting the foot including sesamoiditis, Morton’s neuroma and Freiberg’s disease. The metatarsal pain can originate in the tissues and joints close to the ball of the foot or inside the joints. The metatarsal pain can be mild or severe and can cause significant effects on the ability of the individual to carry out activities of daily living.


The sesamoid is the bone embedded in a tendon and there are two sesamoid bones located in the ball of the feet, beneath the big toe where the initial metatarsal bone connects with the toe. The prevalent cause of sesamoiditis is constant injury. Oftentimes, a fracture on the sesamoid bones will occur or the bones and the surrounding tissue ends up irritated. By enrolling in a first aid course, you can learn how to provide the appropriate first aid care in case of a fracture.

Metatarsal pain

The metatarsal pain can originate in the tissues and joints close to the ball of the foot or inside the joints.

Those who face a higher risk for sesamoiditis include joggers, dancers and those who use high heels regularly. The metatarsal pain during the condition is usually felt beneath the ball of the foot at the big toe and worsens if the individual walks or wears high heels. The area surrounding the affected sesamoid bones can become swollen and inflamed. The conservative modes of treatment for sesamoiditis typically involve avoiding any footwear that contributes to the condition and physical therapy.

Morton’s neuroma

Neuromas are basically nerve tissue growths that can develop in any part of the body. It is important to note that Morton’s neuroma usually occurs in the foot, usually between the third and fourth metatarsal bones. The condition involves the thickening of the nerve that runs to the toes. The usual symptoms include burning or sharp pain on the ball of the foot and numbness in the toes.

Take note that Morton’s neuroma develop when the common intermetatarsal bone is stretched and squeezed which can be due to wearing footwear, injury or irritation. The condition can be treated by wearing shoes that are wide, flat and flexible as well as using metatarsal pads to reduce the pressure on the nerve tissue on the ball of the foot.

Freiberg’s disease

Freiberg’s disease involves the death of tissue or necrosis of the bony parts in the ball of the foot usually the head of the second metatarsal bone. The condition is triggered by damage to the bone and is quite prevalent among young girls during the growth spurt and those who have a short bone connecting to the base of the big toe.

Take note that in both groups, the head of the second metatarsal bone is susceptible to constant stress. The metatarsal pain during this condition tends to worsen when the individual bears weight on the involved foot, particularly during forward movement or when using high-heeled shoes. It is also common for the involved joint to become swollen and stiff. The treatment for Freiberg’s disease includes encouraging the individual to wear low shoes or those that do not have any heels. These shoes can help reduce the pressure in the involved tissues, joints and surrounding structures.