Metatarsalgia

What is it?
Metatarsalgia results from a sprained metatarsal ligament also know as the plantar plate. Direct repetitive impact on the 2-4 metatarsals and toes during running and jumping or standing for long periods in high-heeled shoes can cause the ligaments beneath the second through fourth metatarsals to sprain. This common condition is often misdiagnosed as Morton’s Neuroma. If there is no burning pain shooting into your toes but rather it feels like you have a rock in your shoe then you are probably suffering from Metatarsalgia.

How did I get it?
It can result from flattening of the arches, poor shoe choices, or possibly repetitive trauma to your foot as in running or jumping.

How is it treated?
There are many ways that Metatarsalgia can be treated. Some are more risky and less effective than others. Common conservative treatments include custom orthotics, Metatarsal pads placed accurately in your shoes, ultrasound therapy and manual manipulation of the feet can also be very effective.

Custom Orthotics: A properly made foot orthotic can go a long way in taking the stress off of your Metatarsalgia. The right custom-made, biomechanical orthotic can address the underlying cause of your foot pain. Abnormal joint position, overpronation or foot rigidity can be addressed and the biomechanics normalized. San Diego Running Institute orthotics is custom molded to your foot and are designed with your specific body weight and activity in mind. The restoration of correct mechanical function takes the abnormal stress off the metatarsals and allows it to heal.

Stretching: Often we are told by runners that they have been stretching in an attempt to help Metatarsalgia. The problem is they are not following a scientific, research based stretching program or using a Metatarsal pad. Stretching can not help Metatarsalgia. For healing to occur the pressure must be taken off the sprained metatarsal ligaments. Using a ten step process a Metatarsal pad can be effectively placed on your insole working as a support and relieving pressure on the ligaments.

Rest: For many rest is not a realistic option, the race you are training for is looming Our body is a wonderful “machine”, if you rest it long enough it will heal itself. How long? This is uncertain. Some sufferers report that they rested weeks to years and even now can not walk without pain. Some undergo painfully expensive surgery and the pain still persists.

Drugs/Anti-inflammatories: Drugs such as Ibuprofen are anti-inflammatory agents not healing agents. They actually impair the healing process and many times allow the runner to injure themselves further. Studies have proven that these medications are harmful to your body, can cause ulcers and strain your liver.

Ice: Ice is often recommended and is another example of a non-healing modality. A runner often reports that they have been icing their foot after running. Consider this analogy. If you sprain your ankle and intend to rest it for weeks then ice makes sense. However, if your intent was to not rest every day then icing would be of little use. Instead you might try to brace your ankle and prevent reinjury. With running it’s the same. If you ice your foot so that you can run on it again, thus re-opening the wound, ice makes no sense. Addressing the underlying biomechanical cause does. Using a Metatarsal pad is the same as using a brace on your ankle.

How long will it take to heal?
This depends on how long you have been suffering from Metatarsalgia. By correcting the cause of the injury with San Diego Running Institute orthotics and following the treatment regimen provided by Dr. Runco you can often expect immediate relief usually in your first office visit. Ask your San Diego Running Institute expert about how to get your Metatarsalgia fixed today.

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