Ask The Expert
September 12, 2011
Your symptoms are called “metatarsalgia.” It is pain in one or more joints where the foot meets the toes. On the bottom of the foot, this pain is felt in the “ball of the foot.”
If the pain is near the big toe and moving that toe causes pain, I would suspect it’s osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). This is especially common in people over the age of 50. You can think of it as a “wear-and-tear” type of joint disease in which the smooth lining of the joint (the cartilage) wears down over time.
Here are some other causes of metatarsalgia:
Often, the cause of pain develops for no known reason.
See your doctor. To figure out the possible causes of your pain, your doctor will ask you details about your pain, including exactly where it is. A foot exam will help too.
Most people with metatarsalgia will get better over time with treatment. And preventive measures (such as exercising, using shoe inserts or changing footwear) can improve the chances that once it gets better it won’t return.