The ball of your foot takes the brunt of your foot as you walk, run, dance, and more. This thicker portion of the foot lies between your toes and your heel, and it carries your weight as you move. The ball is already a bigger segment of your foot, but if you notice it getting larger, this could indicate a podiaic problem. Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, is available to answer all of your common foot questions so you can take better care of your feet. One query we often hear from our patients is: “why is the ball of my foot swollen?” There are many potential causes for inflammation in this area. In the following blog, we explain a few of the most common reasons for swelling and explain what you can do to address them.
While we rely on the balls of our feet to carry us through life, many of us may not fully understand what podiatrists call the “metatarsal,” or the conditions that can affect it. Medical News Today explains: “Metatarsalgia, also known as stone bruise, is a type of pain and inflammation that occurs in the part of the foot known as the metatarsal (ball of foot). It often occurs in the metatarsal heads – where the three middle toes meet the ball of the foot. It is a common problem.” Your metatarsal is so vital to your foot function that swelling in the ball of your foot can significantly disrupt your daily life. In addition, the metatarsal is so versatile that there are many related conditions and activities that can affect it.
Medical News Today goes on: “A lot of physically active people suffer from [Metatarsalgia]…the severity of the pain can vary and may affect just one or two toes – sometimes the whole foot or even both feet might be affected.” Although “it is most common in middle aged females,” Medical News Today notes that “Metatarsalgia can affect males and females of all ages.” It makes sense for all of us to know more about the balls of our feet so we can prevent and treat Metatarsalgia.
The Arthritis Answer
Arthritis is a bone condition characterized by swelling and discomfort in the joints. It can affect every area of the body, including the ball of the foot, so inflammation could very well be due to arthritis. Medical News Today writes: “rheumatoid arthritis – swelled joints in the foot, or gout [arthritis caused by uric acid production] can cause Metatarsalgia.” If arthritis is the culprit, Dr. LaMour and our team offer comprehensive arthritic foot and ankle care to help you manage your condition and reduce swelling.
Nailing Your Feet with Hammertoes
Your feet are carefully calibrated systems designed to carry your weight. If one part is malformed, it can affect the rest quite easily. Therefore, a condition known as hammertoes can lead to Metatarsalgia. In this disorder, one of the middle toes is pulled downward, leading the foot as a whole to look like a hammer. Because they don’t distribute the body’s weight properly, hammertoes can stress the metatarsals and lead to swelling in the ball of the foot. In some cases, hammertoes are congenital, but they are often caused by constantly wearing unhealthy shoes that constrict the foot. If caught early enough, Dr. LaMour can help you treat hammertoes with flexible shoes, special exercises, and comforting devices such as cushions. In advanced cases, Dr. LaMour may recommend surgery.
The curvature of your foot can also have a major impact on the ball of your foot. Foot Smart explains that one of the “common causes of metatarsal imbalances include[s] a high arch or flat feet, either of which places abnormal pressure across your metatarsals.” Genetic conditions, improper footwear, and a host of other factors can cause your arch to be too high or too low. To help re-balance your metatarsals, Dr. LaMour can fit you for custom orthotics, as well as prescribing other treatments as needed.
Arthritis, hammertoes, and arch issues are some of the most likely reasons for metatarsalgia, but there are numerous potential causes for swelling in the ball of your foot. If you notice inflammation in this region, we suggest that you come in and see us for assistance. The sooner we can determine the underlying cause, the sooner we can treat it and restore your foot health.
Find Out Why the Ball of Your Foot is Swollen
Dr. LaMour and our team can help you diagnose your condition so you can find relief from inflammation. Contact us today to learn more and schedule your appointment!