Self-management

Lifestyle and home remedies

To help ease your metatarsalgia pain, try these tips:

  • Rest. Protect your foot from further injury by not stressing it. Elevate your foot after standing or walking. 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. Avoid too-tight or too-loose shoes and limit your wearing of high heels. Wear shoes appropriate to the sports you play.
  • Use metatarsal pads. These off-the-shelf pads are placed in your shoes just ahead of the metatarsal bone to help deflect stress from the painful area.
  • Consider arch supports. If insoles don't help, your doctor might recommend arch supports to minimize stress on the metatarsal bones and improve foot function. You can buy arch supports over-the-counter, or they can be custom fitted.
Nov. 04, 2016
References
  1. Fields KB. Evaluation and diagnosis of common causes of foot pain in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 23, 2016.
  2. Metatarsalgia. The American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine. http://www.acfaom.org/information-for-patients/common-conditions/metatarsalgia. Accessed Aug. 23, 2016.
  3. Espinosa N, et al. Metatarsalgia. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2010;18:474.
  4. Metatarsalgia (forefoot pain). American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. http://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/conditions/ailments-of-the-smaller-toes/Pages/Metatarsalgia.aspx. Accessed Aug. 23, 2016.
  5. Imboden JB, et al. Approach to the patient with foot & ankle pain. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Rheumatology. 3rd ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 24, 2016.