Reasons For Pain – On the Ball of the Foot

Foot pain involves not only different causes and levels of severity but also areas of the foot. For instance, as part of pain, the heel, toes, ankle, arch, and ball could be involved individually or more than one area of the foot might be affected. Although this type of issue is not pleasant no matter the part of the foot involved, it seems that ball of foot pain tends to create the biggest problem.

When looking at the foot’s anatomy, the heel and ball are the two areas that take the most punishment. For instance, whether standing, walking, jogging, or running, the heel and ball receive the most pressure. Because of this, injury often affects these two areas of the foot more than any other. This means having ball of foot pain makes normal function difficult and in severe cases, impossible.

Due to ball of foot pain being one of the biggest issues a person faces with injury, we wanted to offer some of very reasons this would occur. Having this information provides an individual with two benefits. First, knowing the reasons for ball of foot pain would make it easier to avoid potential injury. Second, the information would guide a person to the more effective treatment options available.



At the base of each toe are long bones called metatarsals. When these bones experience pressure, the bones are affected, which in turn produces pain. This particular condition is often seen in runners because of repeated impact to that portion of the foot. However, someone who walks long distances, climbs stairs, or performs other repetitive movements using the ball of the foot would be at risk for developing Metatarsalgia as well.

Bone Spur

Although more commonly seen in the heel region of the foot, there are cases when a bone spur could form in the ball of the foot. This occurs when a person has had an injury, followed by bone calcification. These small bone growths, known as bone spurs, can protrude into surrounding tissue and nerves, which in turn would produce ball of foot pain. In most cases, the only remedy is with surgery to have the spur shaved down or removed altogether or you can also use a foot brace to relieve pressure on your foot.

Bone Bruise

Also known as a stone bruise, the problem is given its name because it is commonly seen after a person steps down on a stone or other hard object so hard that the bone actually becomes bruised. Unlike other bruising that occurs on the body, there is seldom discoloration although swelling and ball of foot pain would be expected. There is nothing a person can do to get relief other than to rest the foot and use padded shoe inserts to provide needed cushioning.


Again, fractures of the foot are typically seen in the heel or ankle region but there are times when a small fracture could happen to the ball as well. In most cases, this would be a stress fracture, which is caused from vigorous impact to the ball. For instance, a long-distance runner not wearing appropriate shoes might experience a stress fracture.

For more serious fractures, the ball could be impacted from trauma such as a car accident or fall from a great height while landing on the foot. Based on the type of fracture, a doctor would make the best recommendation for treatment, which may or may not involve some form of surgical procedure being performed or you might need a Aircast boot and some rest.


Morton’s Neuroma

With this, tissue surrounding the nerve located between the bases of the toes, which usually involves just the third and fourth toes, thickens. Because of tight-fitting or high heel shoes, women are at greatest risk for developing this condition. In addition to a sensation of numbness, ball of foot pain is the most common symptom.

As far as treatment options, the first thing an individual should do is choose shoes that fit and those with a lower heel. In addition, a high quality cushioned insert should be placed inside shoes to help alleviate some of the pressure being placed on the nerve. Other options for treatment include taking prescription or over-the-counter pain medication, having steroid injections done to the area, and in some instances, undergoing surgery.




The last of the reasons a person would have ball of foot pain occurs when the tendons around the big toe become inflamed or injured. This condition is known as Sesamoiditis and while painful, treatments are typically non-invasive. For instance, resting the foot would be essential but along with this, a cushioned shoe insert, wearing shoes with low heels, and having steroid injections usually provide much-needed relief of pain while anti-inflammatory medication and ice would alleviate swelling.