Ball of Foot Pain – Advice from Our Podiatrist

Dr. Arti C. Amin


You may sometimes find while walking, a feeling as though a lump is under your foot or as if a pebble is stuck inside your shoe. Yet, there is no pebble to be found.  If this feeling is also accompanied by stiffness, numbness or swelling, metatarsalgia may be the culprit of discomfort and pain in one or both your feet. The name comes from the metatarsal bones, the longest bones in feet.

Metatarsalgia is more commonly known as “ball of foot pain”. It is a form of swelling that can occur when your weight unevenly transfers between the area of your foot arch and toes over to the ball of your foot. The area of the foot that is typically padded by fat underneath the ball of the foot begins to naturally lose that fat layer with age. Pain results, and even more painful calluses may begin to appear.

People who may most likely be prone to suffering symptoms from metatarsalgia have a high arch. They may also have a regular arch while being overweight, which would add pressure to the front of the toes. The pain is the result of inflammation, which can manifest in the form of an ache around the middle section of toes. The impact of this ache may be most felt at the toe-end of a step, or the point of a step when your toes are pushing off the ground.  Not surprisingly, ballet dancers are prone to feeling pain at the ball of the foot after spending much of their time, between training and performances, rising high on the balls of their feet.

A foot has 26 bones and 33 joints, so it is, of course, important to remember that foot pain can be caused by any number of conditions. That is all the more reason to visit a podiatrist who can assess the root of the foot pain.  Dr. Arti Amin is a board-certified podiatrist who specializes in an array of foot conditions that range from superficial conditions that appear externally such as ingrown toenails and foot warts to traumatic injuries that may affect the tissue or bones such as tendonitis, or preventative medicine as it relates to illness.

When experiencing pain in the ball of the foot, Dr. Amin will assess factors that may predispose a patient to pain in the ball of their foot, such as claw or hammer toes.  Hammertoes are when the joints in the toes are curled. Patients whose foot arches roll inward when walking, known as overpronation, are also susceptible to experiencing ball of foot pain as they walk. Walking in high heeled shoes has been connected to back pain because they can affect spinal alignment. However, high heels or wedges can also overburden the front of the foot, causing pain and inflammation in the feet.

It is equally important to see a podiatrist when symptoms are revealed without pain. Numbness or tingling that make walking difficult are signals to have your feet checked. These symptoms may indicate Morton’s Neuroma, a nerve related condition, that will need to be ruled out. Even irritation that occurs without swelling could lead to severe discomfort and pain down the line.

Whether the pain developed through an injury or over time as result of strain and age, Dr. Amin at the Corona Foot & Ankle Group will examine the foot, or both feet depending on the patient, by first taking images to assess the root cause of the pain. Since inflammation and pain can gradually increase over time, addressing the pain early on is critical to successful pain management and recovery.  The Corona Foot & Ankle team can also advise on the best footwear to provide the best foot support and aid in the healing process.

If unusual pain in one or both of your feet persists and appears to have no cause, contact Corona Foot & Ankle Group to schedule an appointment.

PS If you have an ingrown toenail, find out more HERE:

We are close to the cities of  Norco, Eastvale and the can be easily reached for those living in the Inland Empire, CA.