If everything is functioning as normal, you probably are unaware of the pounding your feet take during the course of even a normal day. We all place tremendous amounts of force on our lower limbs – which becomes easier to realize if you know that the landing foot endures forces up to twice your bodyweight with every step! There are many areas in the foot where potential problems can arise, including the forefoot. In some cases, you might start to notice pain in the front, right behind where your toes connect. At other times, the problem could be a big toe that has drifted out of position. No matter the core issue, forefoot pain is something that can keep you from favorite activities and needs to be addressed.
The Many Causes of Forefoot PainWhen we discuss the forefoot, we are talking about everything from the arch of your foot down to the ends of your toes. This particular area is responsible for not only supporting your weight when you stand, but also for pushing off the ground to propel you forward when you walk. No matter if it’s your metatarsal bones, the joints in the ball of your foot, or even your toes themselves – pain can develop in any part of the forefoot. Here are a few of the most common issues that cause pain in the forefoot:
- Arthritis – Inflammation and damage in your joints can make using them quite painful. You can develop arthritis in any of your forefoot joints, though hallux rigidus in the big toe is a common example.
- Bunions – This condition creates a large bulge on the side of your foot where your big toe meets the ball of your foot. It can be quite uncomfortable and make wearing some shoes difficult.
- Metatarsalgia – This is a general issue with pain in the ball of your foot and actually describes symptoms, which can be related to other conditions. Typically, you experience pain and inflammation with pressure.
- Morton’s Neuroma – Nerves between two metatarsal bones can become pinched and aggravated. The nerve tissue then swells and misfires painfully, creating burning, tingling, and numbness between two toes.
- Sesamoiditis – This is a problem with inflammation around the little sesamoid bones under your big toe. It can lead to pain and toe weakness when you put weight on your foot.
- Stress Fractures – Repetitive, hard impacts can lead to cracks in bone tissue. This is particularly common in your metatarsal bones.