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What Causes Pain in the Ball of Your Foot After Running?

Pain in the ball of the foot is a real menace and can result from several causes including Morton's neuroma, burning feet, foot sprain, overweight, etc.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Edited by Joel Taylor

Updated January 2, 2023.

Pain in the ball of your foot is relatively common. Sometimes called metatarsalgia, it refers to pain in the area between your arches and toes at the bottom of the foot. Irrespective of the cause, it's treatable. However, when the cause is known, the treatment can be more direct and the recovery quicker.

Causes of Pain in the Ball of Your Foot

Some of the most common causes of pain in the ball of your foot when walking or running are listed below:

  1. Incorrect running shoes In most cases, incorrect running shoes can worsen your condition over time with blisters, pain, and calluses being common symptoms. Furthermore, conditions such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy may be prone to getting worse. Inserting insoles into running shoes can effectively support and cushion your foot in the necessary areas to prevent the condition from worsening.
  2. Athlete's foot This fungal infection occurs between your toes, usually as a result of increased moisture in your feet within the confined space of a shoe. Common symptoms include blisters, burning skin, and itchiness. In severe cases, there can be pain in your forefoot.
  3. Morton's neuroma The tissue around a nerve leading to your toes that affects the ball of your foot thickens, especially the area between your third and fourth toes.
  4. Foot sprains Foot sprains occur when you stretch or tear the ligaments around your foot. Ligaments connect one bone to another and placing a lot of pressure on your foot can cause your bones to displace, leading to foot pain.

How to Relieve Pain in the Balls of Your Feet

What should be foremost on your mind when you have pain in the ball of your foot is pain relief and preventing your symptoms from progressively getting worse. Sometimes, a combination of rest and ice will be enough to relieve your foot pain. At other times, it will take targeted stretches, footwear modification, and the use of pain relief drugs. Still, there may be a need to manage body weight if it's causing extra pressure on the balls of your feet. Likewise, there may be a need for orthotic inserts as an effective, safe, and affordable long-term solution. Custom insoles for running help by aligning your feet and providing extra cushioning. Made from molds of your feet, these custom insoles are specifically designed to address your foot needs.

» Read this running custom orthotics review for more information