Symptoms you may feel with Metatarsalgia
Stabbing pain the arch of your foot, pain beneath your toes, difficulty walking after a long run? You may be experiencing Metatarsalgia. There are two other similar conditions that can feel very much like Metatarsalgia. These are: stress reactions or stress fractures of your metatarsal heads and Morton’s neuroma.
What is Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia is an irritation to the heads of one or more of your toe bones (long bones of your foot). You have five toes and therefore five metatarsals in your foot and any one of these can become irritated whilst you run.
What is the cause of Metatarsalgia?
Your bones will breakdown and become irritated of you have improper contact or excessive contact with the ground. This can be especially the case if you have not been patient and provided yourself time to build up your training volume built to be ready for this impact force.
Every bone in your body has an ability to adapt. If you constantly run and pound your metatarsal bones over time, they can and will build a tolerance to this force. If you don’t give it enough time to adapt, it will become irritated or may even break – this is stress fracture of your metatarsal head. If you persist in running without allowing your bones to adapt you will eventually develop a stress fracture.
What to do about Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is a bone injury. All bone injuries will require an immediate decrease in the amount of load you place on it. The simplest way to reduce load is to rest, reduce distance and or adding a softer surface around your feet, toes or areas of tenderness. This may be in the form of padding or could also require different running shoes.
Physiotherapy rehab for Metatarsalgia
Ways we can treat metatarsalgia pain are with dry needling, soft tissue release around your lower limb and feet as well as taping. Electrotherapy may also reduce pain and improve bone healing. We will also work with you on strengthening the muscles of your foot and on improving your foot strike during running. We will look at your overall biomechanics and work with you on any core muscle, pelvis, hip, ankle and lower limb strength to ensure your foot has the best possible platform from which to initiate running when you have recovered from metatarsalgia or stress fracture of your metatarsal bones.
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