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A Guide To Orthotic Treatment For Metatarsalgia

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Before we take a look at some of the benefits of choosing to go with orthotics for this condition, we need to look closer at what metatarsalgia is all about. This is going to be known as a condition where the ball of the foot starts to get inflamed and can be very painful.

It is common for it to show up if you run and jump often or pick shoes that are the wrong size. While this condition is usually not too serious, it can be enough to cause you a good deal of pain and will sideline you.

There are several at-home treatments you can go with, such as rest and ice. The right footwear, like arch supports or insoles that can absorb some of the shocks you feel while walking around can be a good solution too.

What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a painful condition that affects the metatarsal heads, which are the bones in the ball of the foot. The pain can be sharp, burning, or aching, and it can be worse with standing, walking, or running. Metatarsalgia can be caused by a number of factors, including:

  • High-impact activities: Running, jumping, and other high-impact activities can put stress on the metatarsal heads, leading to pain.

  • Improper footwear: Shoes with high heels or narrow toe boxes can put too much pressure on the metatarsal heads.

  • Obesity: Excess weight can put extra stress on the feet, including the metatarsal heads.

  • Age: The fat pad under the metatarsal heads can thin with age, making the bones more susceptible to pain.

  • Foot deformities: Certain foot deformities, such as bunions and hammertoes, can increase the risk of metatarsalgia.

What are the Symptoms of Metatarsalgia?

There are a few symptoms of metatarsalgia that you can look for to make sure that you provide the best protection for your feet. Some of the most common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Pain in the ball of the foot, right behind the toes. This will feel a bit different to each patient and you may notice that it is burning, aching, or sharp.

  • A feeling like there is a pebble in the shoe when you take a step down.

  • A shooting or sharp pain in the toes. This could also result in tingling or numbness of the toes.

  • A pain that tends to get worse when you walk, flex the foot, run, or stand. This pain is often worse when you are trying to be barefoot on a hard surface. It will often get better when you rest.

Most of the time, ice and rest will be enough to help with some of the symptoms you feel of metatarsalgia. But if the pain in the feet tends to get worse and will not go away, then you should talk to your doctor to see what treatment options are going to be the best for you.

How Can Orthotic Treatment For Metatarsalgia Help?

When you are suffering from metatarsalgia, you may wonder if there is any solution that is going to provide you with some of the relief that you need. And a pair of custom orthotics will be able to provide the support and relief that you need.

There are a number of ways that a pair of custom orthotics can help including:

Orthotic Treatment for Metatarsalgia

Orthotics are shoe inserts that can help to support the feet and reduce pain from metatarsalgia. Orthotics can be custom-made or over-the-counter. Custom-made orthotics are typically more effective than over-the-counter orthotics, but they are also more expensive.

Orthotics work by redistributing the weight-bearing surface of the foot, which can help to reduce pressure on the metatarsal heads. Orthotics can also help to improve foot biomechanics, which can help to reduce pain and inflammation.

Orthotics with Metatarsal Pads

Orthotics with metatarsal pads are a common type of orthotic used to treat metatarsalgia. Metatarsal pads are soft cushions that are placed under the metatarsal heads. Metatarsal pads help to absorb shock and reduce pressure on the metatarsal heads.

Orthotics with Metatarsal Bars

Orthotics with metatarsal bars are another type of orthotic used to treat metatarsalgia. Metatarsal bars are raised ridges that run across the metatarsal heads. Metatarsal bars help to support the metatarsal heads and reduce stress on the surrounding tissues.

Other Orthotic Modifications

Other orthotic modifications that may be used to treat metatarsalgia include:

  • Forefoot wedges: Forefoot wedges elevate the forefoot, which can help to reduce pressure on the metatarsal heads.

  • Heel cups: Heel cups help to stabilize the heel and reduce stress on the forefoot.

  • Arch supports: Arch supports help to support the arch of the foot and reduce stress on the metatarsal heads.
Orthotics Treatment For Metatarsalgia

Additional Ways Orthotics can Help with Metatarsalgia

In some cases, your foot is going to get out of alignment due to the way that you walk. This can cause additional pressure to get put on the ball of the foot, which is going to make the condition worse and make you feel the pain more than ever before. When you continue to walk this way, it will simply make the pain worse than before.

One of the benefits of going with a pair of custom orthotics is that they will realign your foot so that it can distribute the weight of the foot so that all parts, from the heel all the way to the toes, will take on equal pressure, rather than it getting concentrated on the one part that is causing problems. This gives the ball of the foot a break and can lessen the pain.

When You Have Metatarsalgia, Orthotics Provide Comfort for Your Feet

When you are dealing with metatarsalgia, you will find that there can be a good deal of pain when you walk around. It is helpful to find a pair of orthotics that will provide some additional comfort to the feet, especially in the area of the ball of the feet where a lot of the pain is going to show up.

A good pair of custom orthotics can help. Look for custom orthotics that will allow for extra support and comfort right at the balls of the feet.

This can absorb some of the shocks that you feel when you walk while providing more comfort for some of those hard surfaces and more. Make sure the comfort is right for you before you pick out a pair of orthotics to solve this foot pain problem.

Orthotics Absorb Shock on the Foot and Alleviate Metatarsalgia Pain

When you are athletic and move around on a hard surface most of the day, you will find that it can cause a good deal of shock to the foot and even to the joints. The longer you allow this shock to go untreated, the harder it can be on the ankles, the knees, and even your foot.

You need to find a solution that will keep the joints protected. A good pair of custom orthotics will provide the support that the feet need, and this includes providing shock absorption to the feet as well.

The cushioning and arch support will limit the shock that you feel when it comes to running and jumping and being on hard surfaces, which can protect all areas of the foot, including the ball of the foot.

What Insert Options Do I Have to Help Treat Metatarsalgia?

You will have a few different options when it comes to the types of insoles you can choose for metatarsalgia. The first one is to go with a ¾ length.

These are going to go from the heel right to the ball of the foot and often come with a pad for the metatarsals built right into it. This can help to support the transverse arch, which will reduce the pressure and re-align the foot too.

If you are suffering from a few issues of the foot, such as hammer toes or bunions, it is a good idea to go for this length in the insole that you choose. This will allow you some extra space for the toes to sit naturally so that those conditions have a chance to heal too.

You can also go with a full-length insole as well. These can have a raised support for the bones in the front of the foot or a built-in metatarsal dome.

You can also choose whether you would like to go with an orthotic that is rigid, semi-rigid, or flexible. These orthotics are going to provide you with arch support that gives you stability and can make sure that the natural arch of the foot will not collapse on you.

This type will often have a heel cup that is deep which is beneficial because it will help align the foot better as you are walking around, making sure the foot is comfortable for years to come.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics

If you're reading this, you're likely familiar with the throbbing ache in the ball of your foot – a telltale sign of metatarsalgia. While there are various treatment options, custom orthotics can provide targeted relief and address the root cause of the pain. Here's how Bilt Labs custom orthotics can specifically help:

  • Pressure Redistribution: Metatarsalgia often arises from uneven pressure distribution across the forefoot. Bilt Labs' custom orthotics are crafted from impressions of your unique feet. This ensures optimal fit and strategically redirects pressure away from the overloaded metatarsal bones, promoting a more balanced distribution of weight across your entire foot.

  • Biomechanical Correction: Factors like excessive foot rolling (overpronation) can contribute to metatarsalgia. Bilt Labs orthotics can be designed to address these biomechanical imbalances. By providing targeted arch support and realignment, they help your foot function more efficiently, reducing stress on the metatarsals.

  • Enhanced Comfort and Support: Custom orthotics go beyond generic insoles. The personalized design of Bilt Labs' orthotics provides superior cushioning and cradles your foot in a comfortable embrace. This enhanced support not only alleviates pain but also helps prevent further irritation and discomfort.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics


Metatarsalgia pain can significantly disrupt your daily activities. Fortunately, orthotic treatment offers a non-invasive and effective solution. By addressing the underlying causes of pressure overload, orthotics can alleviate pain, improve foot function, and get you back on your feet comfortably. Remember, early intervention is key. If you suspect metatarsalgia, consult a podiatrist to discuss if orthotics are right for you. With personalized orthotics and a commitment to proper foot care, you can conquer metatarsalgia and walk with renewed confidence. Take our free quiz today to find out which orthotic type is best for your feet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.