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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Metatarsalgia?

Learn about metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot), what you can do to heal it faster, how long it takes, and when you should see a doctor.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Shir Lapidot
Edited by Shir Lapidot

Published October 31, 2021.

Sometimes, pain occurs in the ball of the foot. This is known as metatarsalgia and is a result of inflammation around the head of the metatarsals. It can also present with numbness, stiffness, and swelling. Usually, it results from excessive foot pronation, high arches, prolonged standing, obesity, etc.

If not managed promptly, metatarsalgia can easily lead to functional limitations.

Does Metatarsalgia Ever Go Away?

Often, pain in the ball of the foot will improve naturally without intervention after some days. However, if it persists and worsens, it needs to be taken seriously and managed promptly. Where there is prompt management and compliance, complete recovery can take place in 6 to 8 weeks. With non-compliance, recovery time doubles, leading to frustration for patients.

For example, walking barefoot aggravates metatarsalgia and should be avoided in the recovery period.

How Can You Heal Metatarsalgia Fast?

There are a few things you can do to heal your metatarsalgia, such as:

  1. Rest the foot. If this is not completely possible, reduce the stress you put the leg through.
  2. Apply ice to the affected area. Ice reduces inflammation and leads to pain relief.
  3. Use medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help you manage the condition.
  4. Wear proper footwear. Comfortable shoes that are loosely fitting will not add to the pressure to the ball of the foot.
  5. Stretch adequately. A stretching and strengthening regimen with a focus on the calf, Achilles tendon, ankles, and toes will help alleviate your pain and reduce the risk of re-injury.
  6. Apply metatarsal pads. These can deflect the stress from the painful area.
  7. Consider orthotics. You may consider an orthotic fitting if the metatarsal pad doesn't fully address the pain.

Should You See a Doctor for Metatarsalgia?

Usually, metatarsalgia should go away on its own after a few days. If the above-mentioned self-care techniques do not work, then a doctor should be able to help you ascertain the severity of the injury. Consider seeing one if the pain persists for more than two weeks.