Metatarslagia is a clinical condition characterized by pain in the front part of the foot. Metatarsalgia is a disease caused by overuse injuries to the ball of the foot. This disease is commonly seen in athletes involved in high impact sports. Metatarsalgia is often times referred as a symptom rather than as a disease entity.
Patients with metatarsalgia commonly present with the following signs and symptoms:
The following diagnostic modalities and tests are implore in the work up of patients with metatarsalgia:
The following treatment modalities are available for the treatment of metatarsalgia:
Metatarsalgia does not cause any mortality directly. Early diagnosis and therapeutic interventions can spell out a good outlook for patients. Untreated metatarsalgia can lead to the chronic intentional alteration of the gait causing pain on the opposite foot and low back pains. Morbidity increases with concomitant illnesses like diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, and gouty arthritis.
In the United States, athletes involved in high impact sporting events are prone to the development of metatarsalgia . Metatarsalgia has a slight predilection to the male gender because they are relatively heavier and more likely to involve in high impact sports and occupational activities. Females in their fourth and fifth decade of life who frequently wear high heels and ill-fitting foot wears are also predisposed to metatarsalgia .
Patients with basal metabolic index beyond 40% has more than twice the risk of developing the metatarsal disease. Individuals suffering from gouty arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to be afflicted by this foot disease.
The metatarsal bones of the foot can easily be injured during prolonged exercise. Patients develop this overuse type of injury due to the alteration in the biomechanics of the foot metatarsals. The imbalance of the downward forces causes an abnormal weight distribution on the foot causing the metatarsal sections to progressively inflame even during normal low impact activities.
The persistent stress on the metatarsal can also lead to the chronic irritation of the cartilaginous covering of the bone and the adjacent soft tissues like the tendons and ligaments contributing significantly to the pain symptoms of the foot. Some anatomic differences of the foot nomenclature like high dorsal arches, shortened metatarsal bone, and hammer toe deformity of the first digit can exert more stress on the metatarsal bone consequently causing the inflammatory disorder. Neuromas and bursitis causes a localized inflammatory reaction and irritates the nearby nerves by the metatarsal region of the foot.
Patients who are athletic can prevent the pain felt in metatarsalgia by using the prescribed shoes in each sporting event. The avoidance of ill-fitting footwear significantly reduces the recurrence of the discomfort. For those involved in bolting and jumping activities, the use of insole cushions can avert unwanted injuries on the metatarsal bone. The maintenance of a healthy diet and weight can prevent metatarsalgia and other weight related disorders.
Metatarsalgia refers to the inflammation and pain of the metatarsal bones and joints in the ball of the foot. Patients who are fond of running and jumping are more prone to develop this disease. The use of ill-fitting foot wear can cause the condition while the use of corrective shoes with arch and insole support can prevent the recurrence of the symptoms of metatarsalgia.