Reasons the Ball of Your Foot is Hurting
The ball of your foot has more than 50 structures that can be a source of irritation. Due to this complexity, many injuries are often either misdiagnosed or managed ineffectively.
So let’s take a look at what can go wrong with the ball of your foot and what your podiatrist can do to help these injuries!
Plantar Plate Tear
The plantar plate is a soft tissue structure that connects the joints between the foot and the toes. When too much pressure is applied to it either acutely or repetitively, a small tear can occur. This can feel like a sharp localised pain in the area under the toe joint.
The plantar plate doesn’t have a terrific blood supply, so it is sometimes important to decrease the movement in the area using taping, special footwear and foot inserts.
Joint capsulitis is the inflammation of your joint capsule and presents similarly to a plantar plate tear, but with the pain being a little harder to pinpoint. It usually heals up quicker than the plantar plate and early management is essential. Like the plantar plate tear, offloading and activity modification is the first line of treatment to give it some time to heal before reintroducing higher volumes to your training.
A neuroma is the irritation of the nerve between the toes and present as a painful burning or tingling sensation. It commonly occurs between the 3rd and 4th digit and can be a result of unsuitable footwear. We treat this through increasing the joint spaces that the nerve resides in using padding, orthoses and footwear changes alongside addressing any mechanics of the lower limb that may be attributing to the condition.
Under the big toe, there are two bones that assist the big toe function as we walk and run. These bones and their accompanying joint capsule become irritated by an increase in activity, changes to our mechanics and/or acute trauma. When treating the big toe, we may use orthoses and padding to offload the area, but also review the foots function, and what contributing factors were at play to result in the injury.
Stress fractures are fractures caused by repetitive loads to a bone, rather than an acute trauma. They require careful treatment and load management to ensure they heal, and commonly present after an increase in training loads without adequate recovery. Early diagnosis is once again essential as some bones in the foot are at higher risk of others of delayed healing due to their poor blood supply. More can be read on stress fractures here.
Diagnosis and early intervention are absolutely vital for favourable outcomes with foot pain and your Podiatrist is best suited to manage these injuries for you.
If you or someone you know experiences foot pain, please feel free to contact us as we are committed to the diagnosis and management of these conditions, with the use of a goal-orientated and personalised treatment plan.