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Many of us at some point in our lives have experienced the horrible aching pain under the balls of our feet when we’ve been walking for long periods, particularly after wearing higher heels or thin-soled shoes like flip-flops.
The bones which make up your forefoot are called the metatarsals. They form a gradual shallow “transverse arch” which can effectively bottom out if unsupported or overloaded leading to common problems and pain in this area. Medical professionals often refer to pain under the ball of the foot as “metatarsalgia” (met-uh-tahr-SAL-juh) which means “metatarsal pain”. Metatarsalgia can occur for many reasons ranging from simple hard skin (or callus) to something more serious like a stress fracture to one of the metatarsals.
It is important to give your feet time to rest. Try avoiding activities that increase your pain, if you like to stay active then try low-impact sports such as swimming and cycling.
Using something such as a frozen gel pack or a frozen water bottle swapped in a towel on the painful area can reduce your pain and inflammation.
A lot of the time over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help lessen your symptoms. Make sure you read the instructions on the packaging or consult your doctor if you’re unsure.
A big cause of foot problems is obesity. Any extra weight you are carrying has a direct impact on your feet, which is why it is necessary to try and maintain a healthy weight.
Ankle circles, Achilles stretches, standing calf stretches, and chair poses are all great ways to stretch out your feet and ankles. You can also try the towel stretch – this involves sitting on the floor with your legs extended then wrapping a towel around your feet then pull back slightly. You’ll feel it stretching on the bottom of your feet and through the backs of your legs.
Although walking barefooted on the beach is a great foot workout, walking barefooted on hard surfaces can harm your feet. Hard floors may cause stress to your feet leading to pain and inflammation.
Unlike high heels and flat thin-soled shoes that don’t support the natural contours of your feet, every pair of Strive footwear incorporate metatarsal support in the footbed. This helps to maintain your natural forefoot arch and spread any high pressure over a wider area. This means that the integral structure of your forefoot is held in its optimum position, helping to prevent the stresses and strains that can lead to pain.
The best advice if you suffer from pain under the balls of your feet is to walk in good supportive footwear for most of the time and keep the party shoes to a minimum.
NOTE: If pain persists, visit a Podiatrist for a more specific diagnosis and treatment plan.