Almost anyone can develop metatarsalgia, but you're at higher risk if you:

  • Participate in high-impact sports. Metatarsalgia is more likely to occur if you're a runner or you participate in sports that involve running or jumping, such as soccer, tennis, baseball, football or basketball. Swimming and cycling, which don't put pressure on your forefoot, aren't likely to cause metatarsalgia.
  • Wear high heels or shoes that don't fit properly. High heels transfer extra weight onto the front of your foot, and shoes that are too tight can compress your toes. Wearing athletic shoes that aren't well padded or that aren't appropriate for a particular sport — for example, playing basketball in tennis shoes — also can put you at risk of metatarsalgia.
  • Are overweight. Extra pounds put more pressure on your metatarsals.
  • Have other foot problems. Certain foot shapes — such as high arches, a long second toe or unusually long metatarsals — can contribute to metatarsalgia. So can conditions such as hammertoe, arthritis and gout. These conditions can cause pain and inflammation that change the way you walk and the distribution of weight in your feet.
  • Having rheumatoid arthritis or gout. These inflammatory arthritis diseases make your feet more vulnerable to metatarsalgia.
May. 14, 2014

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