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Pain in the area between the arch and toes, or ball of the foot, is generally called metatarsalgia. The pain usually centers on one or more of the five bones (metatarsals) in this mid-portion of the foot. Also known as dropped metatarsal heads, metatarsalgia can cause abnormal weight distribution due to overpronation.

Metatarsalgia is caused when one or more of the metatarsal joints becomes painful or inflamed. Calluses can often develop under the affected joint. Metatarsalgia also can be caused by arthritis, foot injury (from sports, a car accident, or repeated stress), hard surfaces (cement or tile floors), and specific footwear (rigid-soled work boots).

For some patients, the pain from metatarsalgia occurs from an atrophy, or thinning of the natural fat pad on the bottom of the ball of the foot. Without this padding, excessive pressure can be exerted on the bones, causing pain. In these cases, calluses may or may not form. Treatment consists of replacing the lost padding, and redistribution of weight in the foot. Once this is accomplished, symptoms can be greatly diminished.

A simple change of shoes may solve the problem. Various over the counter cushioned arch supports can be helpful, as are various pads that can be worn on the foot to aid in cushioning and relieve pressure.

One product in particular has been shown by patients to Gel Metatarsal Cushionwork especially well for patients with fat pad atrophy. It is made of a gel material and cushions the entire area on the bottom of the ball of the foot. The cushion is held in place by a loop that goes around the third toe. Once a sock and shoe are on, the cushion stays where it's supposed to stay, relieving pressure on the entire ball of the foot. A further description of this pad can be found by clicking here.











Gel aperture padFor patients with pain under just one area, a pad with a cut out area can help in weight redistribution. By removing the gel material in the center of the pad, a hole is formed. The pad is then applied directly to the skin, with the hole being over the part of the foot that is causing pain. This takes pressure off of the painful part of the foot, and makes it much easier to stand and walk without pain. This pad must be worn with socks and shoes in order for it to stay in place on the foot. What makes it so great is that the adhesive is reactivated after washing in mild soap and water, then being left out to dry. More details on this product can be found by clicking here.






gel dancers pads


Finally, a reusable pad for relieving pressure at the base of the first or fifth toes is available. Again, it requires that you used it with socks and shoes, and it can be used repeatedly. More information on this pad can be found by clicking here.


In all three cases, these pads have the advantage of being reusable. In more severe cases, custom orthotics may be prescribed to alleviate the pain and prevent overpronation.