Okay, so what is Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia describes a painful foot condition characterized by inflammation under the “lesser balls” of the foot near the toes.
Besides pain, other symptoms can include numbness and tingling in the toes, sharp pain that is worse when you flex the foot, and the feeling you have a bruise or are walking on a stone.
How did I get it?
Metatarsalgia is most commonly caused by improper function related to a loss of the arch height and a flat foot.
When you lose the arch, too much weight is shifted to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads which are not designed to handle repetitive stress.
It’s really that simple!
How is it treated?
There are two options in the treatment of metatarsalgia:
1. Temporarily reduce the inflammation and improve foot function
2. Correct the cause
Treatments Designed to Temporarily Reduce Inflammation & Improve Foot Function
This particular treatment for metatarsalgia is actually the combination of 2 minerals - magnesium and sulfate. Foot baths using Epsom salts can help regulate enzyme activity and flush toxins. Epsom salt foot baths can help reduce pain and inflammation.
Epsom salt foot baths take time - at least 30 minutes per day.
Altra Zero Drop Footwear
According to the manufacturer, this particular treatment for metatarsalgia, is the world's first high cushioned, high stability Zero Drop™ running shoe is using a revolutionary new feature, StabiliPod™ technology.
This is a shoe that’s not specific to individual needs. It’s pre-made for the masses!
Toe Extensor Stretch
Stretching designed to reduce the extension/dorsiflexion stress at the forefoot due to the design of made for the masses footwear.
Considering the arch dictates what happens distally, this is pointless and has zero long term potential.
Cost: Whatever the practitioner feels is appropriate. Can range from $50 to $200 per treatment.
Drew Women’s Shoe Zoey by Durea for Metatarsalgia
According to the manufacturer, this particular treatment for metatarsalgia, “prevents the toes from becoming cramped and helps keep the metatarsal bones in balance.” In this case, the manufacturer goes on to state: “Note: This documentation is not intended to suggest treatments for abnormal foot conditions. Any such cases should be referred to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.”
Pre-made, not truly custom specific to individual needs.
Expensive - Costs $315.
This treatment for metatarsalgia is designed to speed recovery and relieve pain. This tape is applied to the foot in particular lengths and directions to alleviate foot strain.
You don’t have metatarsalgia due to a lack of foot tape! Seems obvious enough, but deserve special mention.
Needs to be reapplied often; as often as every 3 to 5 days.
Cost: $20 per roll.
This treatment for metatarsalgia is designed to alter the passage of force through the metatarsals. This shoe insert has a built up pad into the anatomical metatarsal region.
A one size fits all approach to a foot problem that deserves an individualize approach.
Has the potential to create additional foot problems and deformity as it moves the passage of force into a non-specific pattern.
Cost: anywhere from $20 to >$100.
These treatments for metatarsalgia are designed to reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications include, but are not limited to, Aleve and Aspirin, Advil and acetaminophen. Ice is also an effective anti-inflammatory treatment for metatarsalgia.
All medication has side-effects.
Medication is hepatotoxic which means it’s toxic to the liver. Not the best long term outcome potential when you sacrifice your liver so your foot can feel better temporarily.
Ice is cold and needs to be applied until the area is numb; this cab take up to 15 minutes per application.
Lemon Essential Oil
This treatment for metatarsalgia is cold pressed from literally thousands of lemon rinds just to make one kilo of oil.
You smell like lemons for one!
Lemons do not improve foot function.
Cost: Anywhere from $5 to $15 for 15ml
This treatment for metatarsalgia is a flexible sleeve made from a cotton/Lycra blend designed to absorb pressure, shock and friction to cushion and protect your foot.
Fails to improve foot function as it has no ability to improve the passage of force as each foot transitions between pronation and supination. 26 bones in good alignment equals good foot function. This flexible sleeve simply cannot hold the foot in its correct arch-up posture against body weight and gravity!
This particular treatment for metatarsalgia is a one-size-fits-all pad designed to support the ball of the foot. This soft silicone pad can help relieve the burning sensation at the met heads.
There is no one size fits all solution to the 26 bones in each foot that make up 33 joints responsible for foot function and foot health! Think about it.
Note: NONE of these treatments have the ability to improve foot function which essential for the correction metatarsalgia.
In order to optimize the passage of force through each foot, specific to individual needs, each foot must be held and cradled in its corrected arch-up posture, i.e. MASS Position.
MASS Position requires the 3-D impression of your foot is NEVER captured weight bearing; body weight and gravity obviously flatten the arch.
How to Correct the Cause of Metatarsalgia
Custom Calibrated, made-from-scratch, Foot Orthotics
Since the primary cause of metatarsalgia is a loss of normal foot function, the best solution for metatarsalgia is to correct the cause and restore foot function with a custom orthotic designed to restore alignment.
Calibration is simply that ‘butter on the bread’: calibration provides that biomechanical advantage you deserve allowing each orthotic to flex for comfort specific to individual body weight and foot flexibility.
Always specific to individual needs!
Experience the advantage of a truly custom product.
Call Dr. Dave at Arizona Orthotics today, 480-307-4060 and let's get you feeling good again!