Is Forefoot Pain Slowing You Down?

Read time: 10 mins

As the weather cools down, are you dreading putting closed-in shoes on again?

It’s possible you have metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia is a general medical term used to describe pain in the ball of the foot. The pain can occur in the top or the bottom of the metatarsal region.

Every Fall we have an uptick in people coming to Mast Shoes requesting help with relieving pain across the ball of the foot. We frequently hear comments like:

“I’m only comfortable in sandals.”
“I’m dreading the cold weather because I’ll need to wear shoes and they always hurt my feet.”
“I wish I could wear my sandals all winter.”
“My pain started a few days after I put my shoes on when it got cold.”

Often these people are experiencing metatarsalgia. These are the people you might notice (or be) wearing sandals at Thanksgiving. In Michigan the average temperature in November is 42F. Those feet must be cold! We get it. It can be preferable to have cold feet over painful feet.

There are often multiple factors contributing to metatarsalgia. We’ll review some basics below.

Before you read on, this is a friendly reminder to always call your health care provider when you’re experiencing any kind of pain.

Activities Associated With Metatarsalgia Are:

Excess time on your feet. Often we work jobs and have chores at home that require us to be on our feet for long hours. Add the weight of anything you might be carrying like a restaurant tray or boxes during your shifts and the impact on your feet is greater.

Traveling and walking a lot more than usual. We usually put more miles on our feet while traveling. There’s a lot to see out there! If your feet weren’t prepared for the increased activity (with well-fitting walking shoes and a little pre-training), you may arrive home with metatarsalgia.

High Impact Sports and Training that involve running or jumping.

Foot Conditions Associated With Metatarsalgia:

  • Bunions
  • Bunionettes
  • Hammer Toes
  • Mallet Toes
  • Neuroma

Other Health Conditions That Can Contribute To Metatarsalgia:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Peripheral Neuropathy

Footwear Factors That Contribute To Metatarsalgia:

  • Incorrect alignment of ball of the foot with the widest part of the shoe
  • Shoe width is too tight across the metatarsal region
  • Thick socks are worn with shoes fit for thin hosiery
  • Shoe depth is too shallow in the toe box
  • Shoe soles are too thin to adequately absorb shock during a high impact activity or long hours on your feet
  • Many people are unaware that human feet change throughout our adult lives and repeatedly wear shoes that are too small or not adequately supportive.

We have good news! A Mast Shoes fit expert can help you alleviate forefoot pain (aka metatarsalgia). No appointment is necessary. Come in during store hours and meet with one of our fit experts. They will take a fresh measurement of your feet, listen to the description of your foot pain, listen for what activities you’d like to do in your new shoes and match you up with shoes that fit your feet just right.

Early fall is an optimal time to come in, have your feet measured and be fit for shoes that will feel really good all season. Throughout the summer, your feet may have changed. They often get slightly larger in some dimension due to summer activities, and more time spent barefoot and in roomy sandals. A Mast Shoes fit expert will measure your feet and bring you style options appropriate for the cold Michigan seasons. The shoes you try will fit well, feel great and reduce the pain in your metatarsal region. It will likely continue to stay away as long as you continue to be measured and fit again each season.

Please remember that our feet continue to change throughout our adult lives and will require different sizes and types of support.

Come in and be fit for shoes before a well-meaning relative or friend makes a comment or worse, hides your well-loved sandals (yes, that happens).

Your feet will thank you.

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