By Courtney Love, NY Daily News
Pain in the ball of your foot is inconvenient and aggravating. Sharp pains and aches between your foot’s arch and your toes can literally stop you in your tracks — or even prevent you from putting your foot down at all. While there are many possible causes for why you may feel ball-of-foot pain, there are several ways of soothing and managing your pain at home.
Finding the best method of relief that works for you is key to discovering life with less pain. Here’s what you need to know.
What causes ball-of-foot pain?
Metatarsalgia, or ball-of-foot pain, can be caused by a number of underlying conditions. Obesity, arthritis, chronic pain disorders and bunions could be the culprit and could be treated by your doctor. However, other common causes are wearing uncomfortable shoes that do not fit your foot correctly, prolonged and unfamiliar bouts of strenuous physical activity or an injury such as a sprain or stress fracture.
More often than not, causes of ball-of-foot pain are minor and you can resolve them with a bit of extra care. At times, this pain can be the result of a combination of the above causes; a harmless but multifactor issue.
What can I do for ball-of-foot pain?
Most ball-of-foot pain can be resolved with minimal effort. You can find a few great at-home products to help alleviate pain on a daily basis, as well as resting and icing the affected area whenever possible. Most products that are available are topical and safe for use at any age. However, consult with your doctor or pharmacist to see if they recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen to relieve pain and inflammation.
If your pain is persistent (lasting more than 2 weeks), recurring during a specific activity or preventing you from completing daily activities, consult with a medical professional. Stress fractures, for example, can only be properly treated if seen on an X-ray.
7 best products to ease ball-of-foot pain
Neuro Ball Foot Myofascial Release Tool: available at Amazon
A well-known tool for alleviating ball-of-foot pain is by applying pressure to the area with a tennis or lacrosse ball. However, depending on the exact location of your pain, a tool specifically geared toward foot pain can be much more effective. With the Neuro Ball, you simply roll your foot over the textured sphere to alleviate pain. You can use it on one foot in sphere form or split it in half to treat both feet at once.
Topricin Foot Pain Relief Cream: available at Amazon
A holistic pain relief cream may be a good option for you if you have mild-to-moderate ball-of-foot pain. Topricin is non-greasy and fast-absorbing. You can apply it to your feet 3-4 times a day, such as before heading out of the house or before bed at night. Using a topical treatment provides subtle relief and is easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
NatraCure Cold Therapy Socks: available at Amazon
Cold Therapy socks are easy to use and can provide relief for a wide variety of foot-related issues, including ball-of-foot pain and feet that ache in general. The gel ice packs included with these socks can be frozen and then placed over the toes or the arch of the foot. While the gel pads do not rest over the ball of the foot specifically, your ball-of-foot pain can still be eased by the cooling, calming sensation these socks provide.
Metatarsal Foot Pain Relief Cushion: available at Amazon
This 6-pack wool and felt-based pain relief cushion is a great topical treatment for ball-of-foot pain. Each cushion has a sticky adhesive and can be stuck to the insole of most shoes comfortably; just make sure you mark the exact spot in the shoe where the ball of your foot rests so you know exactly where to place them. From there, you should feel less pressure and pain on that area of your foot when you wear your cushioned shoes.
Dr Teal’s Epsom Salt Bath Soaking Solution: available at Amazon
Soaking in Dr. Teal’s Epsom salt is a great way to relax your entire body, including your feet. While you could soak in a bath filled with Epsom salts, you could also rest your feet in a basin or bucket with hot water and Epsom salts for a short period of time. Any kind of soak can provide temporary relief for stressed and sore feet.
Metatarsal Foot Pads: available at Amazon
These one-size-fits-most stretchable silicone foot pads can extend overtop of your toes and the bottom cushioned piece can be secured easily to the ball of your foot. These can be worn underneath socks or in high heels and can be used daily to relieve pain and pressure.
Premium Gel Ball of Foot Cushions: available at Amazon
These gel cushions are perfect for most ages and foot sizes; they are simple to use and can be applied either to your shoe or directly to the ball of your foot depending on your pain and personal preference. They are discrete yet effective and can be reused several times.