This pathology affects the metatarsal bones (bones in the foot), which have the burden of carrying the entire weight of the body. Therefore, these bones support tremendous pressure of continuous tension, if they become overloaded, a wide variety of diseases or disorders can develop, including metatarsalgia. Calluses can also form and even deform your feet.
Metatarsalgia is a medical condition in which there is intense pain and swelling located in the regions occupied by the metatarsal bones. Usually, there is no mention of a serious disorder and it is effectively treated in most clinical cases. However, there are certain conditions in which the problem can become complicated, causing various symptoms.
Patients who suffer from metatarsalgia usually present a series of signs that can be associated with this disease. These alterations usually appear only in one foot but can present theselves in both extremities. For example, among the frequent symptoms, we can include:
– Sensation of tingling or numbness of the toes, usually accompanied by discomfort.
– A feeling of having a stone in the shoe due to the intense pain in the plantar region. As a general rule, this condition is accentuated when walking and can cause the person in question to walk incorrectly. However, the alteration usually remits if the patient is sitting, lying down or in any other resting position.
– Hip or back pain when limping
– Formation of calluses.
We can differentiate the triggers that can lead to the formation of metatarsalgia. Among the most common, we can mention:
– The use of inadequate shoes. Heels are a typical example, although we can also point to shoes that are too tight and / or poorly padded.
– Being overweight. Obesity increases the body mass of the patient, causing the bones of the feet to becomes overloaded and altered more easily.
– Certain types of deformations of the feet. Anatomical changes cause more pressure to the metatarsal area. For example, ‘cavus foot’, a painful arching of the feet.
– Other diseases that can alter the functioning of our lower extremities. For instance, the presence of diabetes, bunions, fluid retention, etc.
– Morton’s neuroma
Your doctor or specialist usually performs several types of tests in order to identify metatarsalgia and differentiate it from other conditions with similar characteristics. They might suggest physical exam to evaluate the symptoms that the patient has developed. The clinical history of the subject, the antecedents that he may have and the lifestyle he has adopted are also studied in depth. They can also suggest X-rays, ultrasound and the use of a baropodometer, which is a test where the distribution of body weight between the two feet are analyzed. Specialists will also recommend a series of guidelines:
– Rest, in order to avoid overloading the feet and exacerbating discomfort
– Taking analgesic medications (to relieve pain) such as Ibuprofen
– The use of comfortable shoes that are adapted to the needs of the patient
– Application of ice on problem areas several for a few minutes, several times a day. It is important to remember not to use ice directly on the skin (the skin could become damaged), but to wrap it in a thin cloth.