Foot pain may be felt anywhere in the foot, toes or the ankle and may be caused by a variety of issues, but pain in the ball of the foot is most often caused by a foot injury or by the presence of a neuroma. Such pain may also be caused by metatarsalgia, particularly in individuals who are physically active. Metatarsalgia may also cause pain in the ball of the foot in individuals who wear shoes that are too tight, which is common in women who wear high heeled shoes.
Injuries that can cause pain in the ball of the foot may include a broken bone, gout or arthritis. A bunion may also cause pain in the foot. Commonly, foot pain is also caused by calluses that form as a result of skin that has thickened due to persistent pressure in that area or due to friction from the continuous wear of ill-fitting shoes.
Morton’s neuroma may also cause pain in the ball of the foot. This is caused by a swelling of the tissue around the nerve in that area. Other symptoms that may accompany pain in the ball of the foot caused by a neuroma include a tingling sensation and pain in the toes. This condition is more common in women than it is in men due to women wearing high heeled shoes or shoes that significantly narrow in the toe area and add pressure to the toes.
Pain in the ball of the foot caused by Morton’s neuroma may also lead to metatarsalgia. The five bones between the foot’s arch and the toe joints are referred to as the metatarsal bones. When these bones experience an improper distribution of weight, pain and inflammation ensue. This most commonly occurs in runners and other athletes, but can also be caused by a condition known as hammertoe or may be caused by bunions or obesity. High heeled shoes and a second toe that extends longer than the great toe may also contribute to metatarsalgia.
Foot cramps followed by pain in the ball of the foot are often the sign of wearing shoes that are too tight. While continued wear may lead to more severe foot conditions, this type of pain is easily remedied by resting the feet and wearing better fitting shoes. Particular effort should be made to only wear shoes that give ample room around the great toe, as well as adequate space around the ball of the foot.