Many issues can contribute to the ball of the foot becoming swollen and painful. The ball of the foot absorbs nearly as much force as the heel area with every step making the three middle toe bones more susceptible to injury and swelling. Pain in the ball of the foot can be caused by everything from stress fractures to nerve conditions like Morton’s neuroma. Be sure to see your foot doctor for the correct diagnosis. Ask about using custom orthotic inserts to help shift pressure away from the ball of the foot.

Swelling in the ball of the foot can be caused by the following:

  • Wearing poorly fitting shoes. Wearing high heeled shoes that force your toes together are often the main cause of problems with the metatarsals and ball of the foot area.
  • Being overweight. Being very heavy can add additional stress to the feet causing an increase in foot and ankle problems.
  • Morton’s neuroma. This nerve disorder is characterized by thick, fibrous tissue that grows around a nerve located between the third and fourth metatarsal bones causing pain and swelling in the ball of the foot.
  • Hairline fracture. A small crack in a toe bone may contribute to symptoms.
  • Genetics. The foot shape you are born with like having a high arch or having a second toe longer than your big toe can shift weight and pressure onto the ball of the foot increasing the chances of an injury.
  • Playing and working hard. High impact sports such as tennis and football can cause injury to the ball of the foot and metatarsals.
  • Arthritic conditions. These often affect the joints in and around the ball of the foot.

If you are experiencing pain and swelling in the ball of your foot, make an appointment with your foot doctor for the proper care. At Atlantic Foot and Ankle Specialists, Dr. Melissa Robitaille and Dr. Todd Newsom treat virtually all types of foot and ankle disorders including bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, and heel pain. Equipped with leading-edge technologies such as extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) and laser surgery for toenail fungus, we provide specialized, compassionate service for patients in the Pooler, Georgia area of Chatham County. For any pain and discomfort you are experiencing with your feet and ankles, contact us today at (912) 988-3323.


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