To help ease your metatarsalgia pain, try these tips:
May. 14, 2014
- Rest. Protect your foot from further injury by not stressing it. Elevate your foot after standing or walking to allow it to recover. You might need to avoid your favorite sport for a while, but you can stay fit with low-impact exercises, such as swimming or cycling.
- Ice the affected area. Apply ice packs to the affected area for about 20 minutes at a time several times a day. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel.
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Try ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or aspirin to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Wear proper shoes. Your doctor may recommend a shoe that's especially suited for your foot type, your stride and your particular sport.
- Try shock-absorbing insoles. These off-the-shelf shoe inserts — often made of cork, plastic, rubber or a gel-like substance — fit inside your shoes to help cushion shock.
- Use metatarsal pads. These off-the-shelf pads are placed in your shoes just ahead of the metatarsal bone to help deflect stress away from the painful area.
Consider arch supports. If insoles don't help, your doctor may recommend arch supports to minimize stress on the metatarsal bones and improve foot function. Off-the-shelf arch supports come in various sizes and can be fitted immediately. More-durable arch supports can be custom-made from a foam mold or plaster cast of your foot.
Rigid arch supports are made of a firm material such as plastic or carbon fiber. They're designed to control motion in two major foot joints below your ankles. Semirigid arch supports are made of softer materials such as leather and cork reinforced by silicone. Arch supports designed to treat metatarsalgia may include metatarsal pads, too.
- Metatarsalgia. The American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine. http://www.acfaom.org/information-for-patients/common-conditions/metatarsalgia. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Callahan LR. Overview of running injuries of the lower extremity. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Skinner HB, ed. Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Orthopedics. 4th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2006. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2321540. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Doherty GM, ed. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Surgery. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=23. Accessed Sept. 1, 2013.
- Wheeless CR, ed. Wheeless' Textbook of Orthopaedics. Durham, N.C.: DataTrace Internet Publishing; 2011. http://www.wheelessonline.com/ortho/metatarsalgia. Accessed Sept. 3, 2013.
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