Forefoot Pain: Injuries Limiting Your Push-Off Power
Your feet have a pretty unique design that allows them to support your weight, absorb shock, and propel you forward. No part of your foot is “extra” or unnecessary—you need your whole foot functioning at its best to keep you upright and walking without discomfort. Forefoot pain is unfortunately a common problem that can make it harder for you to participate in your favorite activities or, in some cases, daily tasks. There’s no single cause of the problem, either.
The Many Causes of Forefoot Pain
Your forefoot includes everything from about the arch of your foot to the ends of your toes. It’s responsible for not only supporting weight when you stand and take a step, but also for pushing off the ground to propel yourself forward. Pain can develop in any part of the forefoot, whether that’s your metatarsal bones, the joints in the ball of your foot, or your toes themselves. Here are a few of the most common conditions that cause pain in this area:
- 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.
- 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.
- Stress Fractures – Repetitive, hard impacts can lead to cracks in bone tissue. This is particularly common in your metatarsal bones.
- 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 rigidis in the big toe is a common example.
- 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.
What to Do When Pain Strikes
Like other types of discomfort, forefoot pain doesn’t get better simply by hoping it will improve. You have to take active steps to identify the specific condition that is causing the problem, then begin treating it. G. Jason Wilks, DPM and our team at Wilks Advanced Foot Care will use a variety of diagnostic tests and sometimes images to determine the cause of your discomfort. From there we will help you implement a treatment plan designed to meet your unique needs.
Treatment will vary depending on the condition, but it may include options like shoe changes or using custom orthotics to better support and cushion your forefoot. You’ll definitely need to take a break from activities that aggravate the problem to allow your feet time to recover. Sometimes options like icing the painful area will be helpful as well. In cases like stress fractures, you might need to temporarily wear a special boot to allow the bones to heal.
Taking Preventative Measures
What’s better than dealing with the discomfort is preventing it. You can actually do a lot to help prevent conditions that cause forefoot pain. Wearing shoes with low heels and appropriate arch support is one way. Sticking to styles that don’t squeeze or pinch your foot or toes is also important. Conditioning your feet to handle your activities can help prevent a number of issues as well. If you do start noticing discomfort, don’t ignore the problem—take care of it right away before anything gets worse.
Pain in the front part of your foot can have many sources, but it can also have many solutions. They key is to take care of the problem now, before it has a chance to progress. Our team at Wilks Advanced Foot Care is happy to help you not only accurately diagnose the source of your discomfort but also work with you every step of the way to eliminate it. Don’t settle for pain—take back your comfort! Contact our office in Roseburg, OR, through our website or by calling (541) 673-0742.
Connect With Us