Metatarsalgia is a general term used for ball of foot pain or pain on the front part of your foot. This pain usually occurs when standing or walking, and is worse when barefoot. The reason for this pain is due to the joints being bruised when you are standing or walking. The joints that are affected are the metatarsal joints of metatarsal bones which become inflamed. Usually the pain comes and goes depending on how long you have been standing or walking.


  • Pain can occur due to callus buildup on the front of the foot. Callus buildup is a result of increased pressure at the front of the foot and the skin thickening. Minor callus buildup does not cause pain, however, if callus becomes too thick, it will cause a direct pressure on the metatarsal bones making it difficult to walk.
  • Footwear
    • Shoes that are completely flat and flexible will not properly give shock absorption to the front of the foot when walking. You need to push off with the ball of the foot when taking a step forward which increases the pressure on the metatarsal area and results in a bruised forefoot.
    • High heeled shoes causes the front of the foot to land first on the ground rather than your heel. The proper way to walk is a heel to toe gait. Heel to toe gait where your heel lands first to take the shock absorption from the ground and then the weight transfers from the heel to the front of the foot. By landing on the front of your foot first in a high heeled shoe, you are causing the metatarsal joints at the front of the foot to absorb the ground reaction force. After long periods of standing and walking in a high heel, the metatarsals become bruised and constant forefoot pain occurs.
    • Tight footwear/Loose footwear- Shoes that are too tight or too small will squeeze the foot and increase the pressure. Loose footwear will cause the shoe to slide and create friction resulting in callus formation.

What you can do:

  • Avoid flat and high heel shoes when symptoms occur
  • Make sure your shoes are not too tight or lose
  • Icing the foot after activity will relieve inflammation
  • Do not be barefoot at all!
  • Wearing shoes that have a forefoot rocker will help decrease the time spent on the metatarsal joints when you are walking
  • See your foot specialist for an assessment to rule out other causes such as arthritis, fractures etc.

What We Will Do:

  • Foot will be assessed for callus or corn buildup. If present, we will debride the excess skin to relieve the pressure
  • Footwear recommendations will be given to decrease the pressure on the balls of the foot
  • Biomechanical assessment will be performed to assess if your gait is causing abnormal pressure to the forefoot
  • Orthotics may be prescribed to offload the pressure on the balls of the foot
  • Proper education will be given to reduce symtoms
  • Topical/or oral anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed
  • Shockwave Therapy Treatment may be initiated

Please feel free to book your appointment at our Whitby office, or Toronto Office. Now serving- Bowmanville, Courtice, Oshawa, Whitby, Brooklin, Ajax, Durham, Pickering, Scarborough, Toronto, Etobicoke, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Markham, Thornhill.