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How To Treat Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is a condition in which the metatarsal region of the foot becomes painful, inflamed and swollen. Simply put, the metatarsal region is the ball of the foot just behind the toes. The pain is first noticed just behind the toes.
It may become more intense with passing time and may radiate right up till the base of the foot. The area behind the big toe bears the worst brunt as maximum foot pressure is felt in this area. The other symptoms of metatarsalgia include numbness, formation of calluses and a tingling sensation.
The most common causes of this ailment are poor posture and incorrect footwear. High heels worn by women are the biggest culprits. 6-inch pencil heels can place undue pressure on the ball of the foot and lead to metatarsalgia. The condition is, however, not serious and can be treated in the following ways.
How To Treat Metatarsalgia
Identify the Cause
You first need to identify the cause of metatarsalgia. If it is incorrect footwear, then you need to stop wearing these completely otherwise, the condition will substantially worsen. Try to wear comfortable, flat-heeled shoes. Giving the foot some rest diminishes the pain and reduces discomfort.
If there is acute swelling and redness in the ball of the foot, try applying ice to the area. Ice will help to bring down the swelling and also numb the pain. At times, the pain becomes very intense as soon as you remove the high-heeled shoe. In such cases, it becomes important to wear flat-heeled shoes or walk barefooted which helps to alleviate the pain to some extent.
Oral Pain Medications
If the pain does not subside on its own, see a podiatrist who will prescribe some oral painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to bring down the swelling and the pain. This should give you temporary relief.
Special orthopedic devices for footwear are available which help to correct an improper arch or overpronation of the foot while walking. These devices help to take the pressure off the ball of the foot. These devices not only give short-term relief but also prevent the foot pain from recurring. If your foot has a genuine problem, inserting these devices maybe a permanent solution to your problem.
Take Adequate Rest
Taking some much needed bed rest may help to alleviate the pain and prevent it from recurring. The pain normally subsides with rest.
Surgery is not usually recommended but in severe cases of metatarsalgia, it may have to be done especially if nerves and tissues are being affected. If left ignored, severe metatarsalgia can lead to necrosis and cutting off the blood supply to the ball of the foot region.
In such cases, a podiatrist may perform surgery to repair or restructure a deformed foot that is causing ball foot pain. However, surgery is used only in extreme cases.
The best way to prevent metatarsalgia is to walk with good posture, wear correct footwear and avoid wearing heels. Heels can cause the condition to exacerbate and cause widespread discomfort.
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