What Causes Pain in the Ball of the Foot?

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Pain in the ball of the foot, which is also known as metatarsalgia, is usually caused by intense activity or training, foot deformities, excess weight or poorly fitting shoes, according to Mayo Clinic. This type of pain can also be caused by stress fractures and Morton’s neuroma.

A single factor can sometimes lead to pain in the ball of the foot, but it usually is a combination of several factors, notes Mayo Clinic. Anyone participating in high-impact sports or running is at special risk for metatarsalgia, since intense activity and training can put significant force on the ball of the foot.

Deformities of the foot caused by wearing shoes that are too small or high-heel shoes can cause pain in the ball of the foot, according to Mayo Clinic. Bunions and hammertoes can also cause this sort of pain. In addition, naturally high-arched feet can also put added pressure on the metatarsals and cause this type of pain.

People who are overweight tend to experience ball-of-foot pain, notes Mayo Clinic. Athletic shoes with no support or shoes with narrow toe boxes can also cause foot pain in the ball of the foot. Fibrous tissue growing around the nerve between the third and fourth toe, which is called Morton’s neuroma, can be a further cause of metatarsalgia.