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Metatarsalgia is a condition which is manifested as pain or inflammation of the ball of the foot. The ball of the foot is the section of the sole just behind the toes. The symptoms of metatarsalgia are sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot, pain in the toes, pain which is worsen while standing, walking or moving the foot, tingling feeling or numbness in the toes and sharp pain while walking barefoot. Metatarsalgia is not a severe condition, but pain can be bothersome and uncomfortable. Everybody can be affected, but it is more common in middle aged women.

The causes of metatarsalgia can be inappropriate shoes, excessive training, hammertoe which develops if you wear high heels or tight shoes which causes curled toe, unions which are lumps at the base of the big toe, being overweight, fractures and Morton's neuroma which is a growth around a nerve. 

People who wear high heels or too tight shoes are more at risk from setting metatarsalgia and so are those who are overweight. Also people who run or play a sport such as football, soccer, basketball or tennis can suffer from metatarsalgia. Some people are prone to this condition because of the shape of their foot.

If metatarsalgia is not treated complications such as pain in other parts of the foot or pain in the back or hip may appear. In order to diagnose the condition, your doctor will perform a physical examination and in some cases an X-ray will be necessary if the doctor suspects that one of the bones in the foot is broken.

In order to treat metatarsalgia properly you should get plenty of rest and protect the foot from injuries. You should not do activities such as running or jumping, but you can swim or cycle instead. It is recommended to put ice compressions on the affected area several times a day. In case you suffer from sharp pain or inflammation, you can take some painkillers. You should avoid wrong kind of shoes and wear just those which fit properly. You should also consider using metatarsal pads, arch supports and various insoles which are placed in the shoe. This can also help in relieving the pain. It is good to keep the affected foot elevated while lying down. In extremely rare cases, a surgery must be performed. It is either removing the nerve which causes the condition or reshaping the joints and bones.

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