Metatarsalgia is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the metatarsal region of the foot, which is located just under the metatarsal joints and is more commonly called the ball of the foot. Metatarsalgia is a common condition that affects the bones, joints, and surrounding tissue of the ball of the foot. While it can affect the entire area, it usually occurs under the 2nd, 3rd and 4th metatarsal area.


It is common to experience acute, recurrent or chronic pain under one or more of the metatarsal heads, usually caused from excessive pressure over a long period of time. Metatarsalgia pain is often caused by:

  • Morton’s toe.
  • A biomechanically dysfunctioning foot, such as in overpronation.
  • Loss of the fat pad in the ball of the foot which reduces protection to the bones. This is common with age and/or in a person who has a job working on their feet.
  • Rigid high arches which cause excessive pressure in the metatarsal area due to a lack of flexibility of the foot, creating biomechanical dysfunction.
  • High impact activity without properly fitted footwear and support.
  • High heels and shoes with narrow toe boxes that cram the ball of the foot into an area that is too small and restrictive. This constriction of the foot reduces blood flow, inhibits walking and can lead to extreme discomfort and inflammation in the forefoot.

Treatment and Prevention

Properly fitted footwear is the key to relieving and preventing metatarsalgia. You should select shoes with a toe box that fits the contours of your feet, providing more space for your toes to move. Since high heels put more pressure on your forefoot area, you need to reduce the height of your heels to no more than 2 inches high. A lower heel will reduce forefoot pressure, providing pain relief.

By adding ultra-light, custom-fitted ezWalker® Custom Performance Orthotics to your shoes, you can support your hind foot, secure your arch, and at the same time, unload the pressure on your forefoot. These custom orthotics increase your stability and balance, which providing you with pain relief from metatarsalgia. For extra pain alleviation, add a metatarsal pad to release even more pressure on your forefoot. A metatarsal pad supports the transverse arch, or the metatarsal arch, of the foot. It is a minimal added charge with maximum benefits. By wearing ezWalker® Custom Orthotics, you can say goodbye to forefoot pain and hello to comfort.

Note: If you have a rigid foot, you will need accommodative support ezWalker® Custom Orthotics.

Your feet are constantly changing as you age. Have your shoe fit checked regularly. Remember the size on the measuring device is only a reference. Mass-manufactured shoes are NOT all created equal. Refer to the Shoe Fitting Reference Guide for proper guidelines on how to best fit your shoes.

If you follow these guidelines and you’re still experiencing severe pain in the forefoot area, you must consult with a physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment.