Metatarsalgia is a common term used for pain in the foot in the metatarsal region, involving the bones and joints at the ball of the foot. This pain is typically felt under the 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads or sometimes near the big toe. Therefore, metatarsal orthotics could form an important part of the treatment for metatarsalgia, which is not easy to diagnose exactly. Interestingly, metatarsalgia is just a symptom and not a diagnosis. It's a challenge on the part of a podiatrist to treat this problem due to its vague signs and the vast conditions it covers such as, stress fractures, Morton's neuroma, capsulitis, intermetatarsal bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. In any case, the main principle followed in treating metatarsalgia is non-surgical management, as far as possible.

Orthotics is the crucible component while stimulating metatarsalgia and the podiatrist can use various orthotic modifications or corrections after detecting the basic etiology. Injections, shoe configurations, manipulation and surgery are other options in treating this problem which the clinicians employ along with or in place of metatarsal orthotics.

What exactly causes metatarsalgia?

With this condition, it so happens that one or some of the metatarsal heads can become painful and at times inflated, usually due to too much pressure over a long period of time, resulting into chronic or chronic pain. This pain is usually caused by faulty footwear, party wears – during social events – or any other restrictive or uncomfortable footwear. Any footwear with a limiting toe-room forces the ball-of-foot region to be compressed into confined space. Consequently, this can affect a person's normal gait and cause untold discomfort in the forefoot, leading to metatarsalgia over a period. This fact also applies for people that use footwear with very high heels. It can also happen to people that take part in high impact activities without wearing suitable footwear or orthotics.

There is one more reason that can trigger metatarsalgia. With advancing age, the fat pad in our feet can become thinner, and chances of developing pain in the ball-of-the-foot can not be ruled out. Proper footwear with a high, wide toe area and a rocker sole would be suitable for dealing with metatarsalgia. The wide toe area will allow the foot to move and spread out without any discomfort and the rocker sole can minimize the pressure on the ball-of-the-foot.

Reducing the pressure on the ball-of-the-foot can be done with various foot care products. Metatarsal orthotics looking to reduce ball-of-the-foot pain normally comes with a metatarsal pad. This type of orthotic is made by placing the pad behind ball-of-the-foot to reduce stress and distribute the weight from the painful region to more ending regions. Other kinds of orthotics advised consist of metatarsal cushions and bandages. When these products are introduced in the right footwear, the person suffering from metatarsalgia should find good relief from the pain. Custom-made foot orthotics has thus become an important component of metatarsalgia treatment. The onus is on the podiatrists, therefore, to study each case thoroughly before prescribing the right course of treatment for the patient.