Some runners have experienced pain in the bottom of their foot. Metatarsalgia, or better know as the ball of the foot pain, is actually a common injury in runners. It is inflammation of the ball of the foot.



Having a lot pressure on your forefoot can cause pain and inflammation in your metatarsals which is the long bones in the front of your feet, just below your toes.  Runners are more at risk to this injury than other athletes as when we lift off our foot there is sometimes an uneven distribution of weight through our forefoot.

Causes of Metatarsalgia:

  • Improper, tight shoes
  • Incorrect biomechanics
  • Having high arches
  • Excess weight
  • tight Achilles Tendon
  • Intense running or jumping
  • Wearing high heels (causes Morton’s neuroma)
  • Morton’s neuroma- is an injury to the nerve between the toes, which causes thickening and pain. Usually affects the nerves between the third and fourth toes.


Symptoms of Metatarsalgia:

  • Sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot.
  • When the pain increases when you stand up, walk, or run.
  • Shooting pain into your toes.
  • Numbness or tingling in your toes.
  • When you walk it feel like you have a pebble stuck in your shoe, or feel like you are walking on a little ball.


Treating the ball of the foot pain:

  • Rest- Taking a few days off of running to let the injury heal is the best way to treat it.
  • Ice- Apply ice for 15-20 mins on affected area to reduce the pain and swelling.
  • Using insoles in your shoes- Using some moleskin, or Metatarsalgia insoles will help absorb some shock when you run so your foot doesn’t receive all of the force.
  • wear the right pair of shoes!!! This is something that is VERY important to ALL runners in order to lessen and remain injury free. Having shoes that are too tight, in this case, a pair that has some good forefoot cushioning is  ideal.
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever- Taking something like Advil, or Aleve can help ease the pain. But as with any medication ALWAYS consult with your Doctor before you take anything.
  • KT Tape- Of course there is an application for KT Tape, ball of the foot pain. My husband uses this app occasionally and helps ease the pain and along with ice helps with the recovery.
Click here for instructions to applying the tape


  • Stretching is a must! There are many stretches or exercises you can do to prevent this pain by strengthening your foot:
Toe raises and toe points
Calf stretches help relieve tension. Lean forward keeping your heels on the ground when you stretch each foot. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch
Get one of these toe separators(men asks your wives for it) and squeeze your toes together for 5 seconds and release, repeat 10-12 times. This will also help with toe cramping.
Put a large, thick, rubber band around your big toes, and try to pull them apart, try to do 3 seconds 12 reps

Morton’s Neuroma goes hand in hand with Metatarsalgia as it  is a swollen or thickened nerve in the ball of your foot. It is a painful condition that most commonly affects the area between your third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock.


When your toes are squeezed together too often and for too long, the nerve that runs between your toes can swell and thicken. This swelling can make it painful when you walk on that foot. High-heeled, tight, or narrow shoes can make pain worse.  It has very similar symptoms as the Metatarsalgia pain, that is why they go hand in hand. You can follow the same treatment steps above but if it persists or gets worse, a Doctor might suggest a different approach.

I hope this information can help you overcome this pain. Alpha gets it occasionally and with the treatments listed above he is pain-free the next day =)

-cheetah g