Metatarsalgia or metatarsophalangeal joint synovitis is a common inflammatory condition which affects the metatarsophalangeal joints of the foot. The condition results in pain under the heads of the metatarsals and is aggravated with walking, running or jumping activities. The cause of Metatarsalgia is usually due to excessive pressure being placed through the forefoot over a prolonged period of time. Although athletes and dancers who are placing high loads through the foot with jumping and running activities are at higher risk of developing Metatarsalgia, the condition is often related to abnormal foot mechanics, prominent metatarsal heads, or a shortened first metatarsal bone which results in increased weight being placed through the second metatarsal joint.
It is important that metatarsal pain is addressed early with physiotherapy intervention to avoid more serious problems developing in the foot or lower limb. Depending on the cause of pain physiotherapy treatment may include the use of prescription orthotics, metatarsal padding for the insoles of your shoes, or taping techniques to help re distribute the forces acting on your foot more evenly. Stiffness in the joints of the foot or soft tissue structures can also be a contributory cause of the condition, your physiotherapist may use joint mobilisation and soft tissue massage techniques to address these restrictions.