Metatarsalgia is the technical term for pain on the bottom of the foot and located in the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia is often assoicated with callus formation on the bottom of the foot, increasing the pain. When numbness, burning or tingling is present then a neuroma may be suspected.
In the younger patient, metatarsalgia may be due to variations in the structure of the foot causing prominence of bone on the bottom of the foot. This prominence results in increased pressure and pain. As we age our fat pad on the bottom of the foot becomes thinner and this loss of cushioning can cause increased pressure and pain in the ball of the foot.
Cushioning and padding can decrease pressure on the bottom of the foot and reduce pain. Custom functional orthotics can control function of the foot to reduce pressure and pain. When conservative treatment fails surgery may be necessary to correct deformity when present. Surgical procedures are also available then can restore the fat pad to the bottom of the foot in those who have experienced loss of padding on the bottom of their foot.