Diagnosing Forefoot Pain

It’s resolution season. This early into January, many of us are still trying to hold ourselves to the promise that we’ll be more active, get more exercise, and stay fitter this year. Whether we’ll still be on course when February hits is an open question, of course, but it’s easy to get discouraged if you’re suffering from pain in the front of your foot.

As with many other types of foot or ankle concerns, forefoot pain (also known as ball-of-foot pain or metatarsalgia), diagnosing the underlying condition may take a bit of detective work. A wide variety of conditions or external pressure can cause discomfort between the arch and the toes; a foot specialist like Dr. Keith McSpadden can diagnose the root of the problem and help you counteract it.

Diagnosing forefoot pain usually involves a combination of physical examination, questions about your symptoms and recent activities, and if necessary, any further medical tests (like blood work or X-rays) that your specialist may recommend. We’ll look at your feet, look at your shoes, ask you where the pain is located, what it feels like, when you first noticed it, what types of sports you play, etc.

In some cases, all you may need is a new pair of shoes—you’d be surprised how often bad, unsupportive footwear worn regularly can lead to pervasive pain, swelling, or discomfort.

That said, most instances of metatarsalgia feature multiple involved factors, which may include everything from the type of training you do to the natural shape of your arches or toes. You may also be suffering from more specific conditions or injuries, such as stress fractures (hairline cracks in bones), a Morton’s neuroma (a benign growth next to a nerve), or an injury to the tiny sesamoid bones in the balls of your feet.

Figuring out what is causing your forefoot pain is the key first step in determining what strategies will be the most effective at resolving it. If foot pain has you hobbled, call Dr. Keith McSpadden at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for evaluation. Schedule an appointment today by dialing 512-593-2949.

Posted on January 6, 2016 and filed under General.