Metatarsalgia is an inflammatory condition which occurs in the joints between the metatarsal bones and phalanges (phalanx bones), more often in the second, third or forth MTP joints. Metatarsalgia is a common overuse injury described as pain in the forefoot that is associated with increased stress over the metatarsal head region


  • The foot is frequently injured during sports activities that typically involve repetitive high-pressure loading on the forefoot.
  • As in many other overuse syndromes, the condition may be the result of an alteration in normal biomechanics that has caused an abnormal weight distribution among the metatarsal heads.
  • Persistent stress can lead to chronic irritation and inflammation of the periosteum and adjacent tissues.


  • High level of activity
  • Prominent metatarsal heads
  • Tight toe extensors
  • Weak toe flexors
  • Hammertoe deformity
  • Hypermobile first ray
  • Tight Achilles tendon
  • Excessive pronation
  • Equinus deformity


  • Pain in the forefoot which is worse when weight bearing.
  • Pain is usually of gradual onset.
  • Pain and tenderness when pressing in on the joint.
  • Passive flexion of the toe (bending the toes down) can stimulate pain.
  • There may be excessive skin or calluses  under the foot due to excess pressure.


Various foot problems can cause symptoms similar to those of metatarsalgia. To help pinpoint the source of your pain, your doctor will examine your foot and ask about your lifestyle and activity level. You may need an X-ray to identify or rule out a stress fracture or other foot problem


  • Left untreated, metatarsalgia may lead to:
  • Injury to ligaments in the foot
  • Pain in other parts of the same or opposite foot
  • Toe problems
  • Chronic stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion
  • In some cases, metatarsalgia may contribute to a condition known as avascular necrosis — the death of bone tissue due to a lack of blood supply. Without treatment, the affected bone may collapse


  • Foot freedom: If you wear tight shoes with thin soles and high heels, give them away. If you have symptoms of a Morton’s neuroma, remove the shoes periodically and gently massage the painful area. If you pinch or rub vigorously, you may experience pain as intense as when you hit your “funny bone.”
  • Orthotics (or metatarsal pads): Consult your podiatrist or physician for a footpad that relieves pressure on the metatarsal area.
  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or sulindac. This is the most common treatment. Ibuprofen, sulindac, or diclofenac sodium, prescription astringents, emollients or ointments can help treat bunions or calluses, which sometimes are associated with metatarsalgia. Rarely, injections of a corticosteroid into the tender area may be used.
  • Surgery: An operation seldom is necessary. In severe cases of Morton’s neuroma, surgeons remove the nerve associated with painful symptoms. Surgical options for other types of metatarsalgia include reshaping joints and modifying irregularly shaped bones.


At Physioline, all the members of the rehabilitation team work together so as to provide proper care and the therapy in order to:

  • Pain relief with electrotherapy
  • Reduce stiffness
  • Reduce swelling
  • Breaking of adhesions
  • Strengthening of muscle
  • Prescription of foot pads
  • Complete rehabilitation
  • Sports specific training

Visit Physioline for further Consultation and treatment