Pain in the ball of the foot can be caused by a number of structures in the area that become inflamed and painful. Today we will discuss the different structures that can become inflamed, how to diagnose the pain and how to treat the pain non- surgically.
At TFC Podiatry, we see a range of patients with forefoot pain. These patients range from recreational walkers to elite athletes and everything in between. As the forefoot has many structures which can become inflamed, the first step in the management of forefoot pain should always be an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosis is generally made in the Podiatry clinic with a focus on assessments including palpation, strength and flexibility testing as well as a thorough gait analysis. These tests are called biomechanical assessments.
The most common causes of forefoot pain includes: morton's neuroma, bursitis, fractures or joint pain. Treatments for these conditions vary significantly so it is important to ensure you are being treated for the correct problem. We will focus on the treatments for the common conditions of Morton's Neuroma and Intermetatarsal Bursitis.
Neuroma and Bursitis in the forefoot is a common condition amongst active people and is caused by pressure and friction from the ground and from the metatarsal heads. This pressure and friction is linked in with a few major risk factors that we identify and treat as Podiatrists. The major risk factors include foot type, muscle tightness and footwear.
Foot type is considered a risk factor for these conditions if the foot is excessively high arched or flat or if the 2nd metatarsal is long compared to the 1st metatarsal. Muscle tightness is also considered a risk factor if the restriction is seen to increase pressure through the forefoot, the big culprit for this is the calf muscle. Footwear can cause pressure in the form of compression or direct pressure, the most obvious footwear that fits into this category include excessively high heeled or excessively flat shoes or shoes that are too tight or ill fitting.
When customizing a treatment plan, the Podiatrists at TFC Podiatry will look at addressing all or some of these risk factors. These treatments can include, orthotics, prescribed footwear, stretching, dry needling, massage, bracing, strapping and/or injection therapy. There are a multitude of treatments available for forefoot pain, book in to your closest clinic online to discover more!