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Foot pad pain: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Only someone who suffers from pain in the front area of ​​the foot can know the discomfort that it generates in activities as common as walking or standing, especially since the weight and pressure that this area supports are pretty high. With problems such as rheumatic diseases, foot deformities, or Morton’s neuroma, pain in the pads of the foot, medically known as metatarsalgia, can appear.

To learn more about the causes of this type of discomfort and the solution, continue reading the following article by FastlyHealcalled Foot Pad Pain: Causes and Treatment.

Causes of footpad pain

The ball of the foot at the base of the toes is called the ball of the foot. The ball of the foot receives tremendous pressure with each step taken because the entire weight of the body rests on that area. Therefore, it is understandable that the problems affecting these pads generate so much pain and discomfort.

Among the different and multiple causes of metatarsalgia are:

Alterations in the shape of the foot

If the second toe of your foot is longer than the others, or if the foot is high and you have a pronounced arch, the stress generated on the metatarsal can cause you to suffer pain in that area. Even more so if this makes your footprint not normal.

Bone deformities

When the shape of the foot is not standard, and this deformity worsens over time, an imbalance in gait occurs, causing you to adopt a footprint that is not yours and causes pain in the pads of the foot.

On the other hand, deformities can be painful when accompanied by a joint problem. It is the case of:

  • Claw or hammertoes.
  • Juanes.
  • Hallux valgus.

Use of high heels or narrow shoes

You may think that your foot looks more wearing heels, but it is not what happens when you remove them, even more so if you take it as usual since the foot will deform. The pressure it generates on the front of the foot is such that it can become chronic pain, or other problems may arise as a result, such as Morton’s Neuroma. The same happens when you wear very narrow shoes for your foot since the tread is altered.

Neuroma de Morton

Very intense pain occurs at the base of the fingers (usually between the third and fourth) due to an entrapment of the nerves in that area. It can precipitate after bad habits such as inappropriate footwear, impact exercise, being overweight, or alterations in the typical shape of the foot.

See more information about Morton’s neuroma in How to tell if I have Morton’s neuroma.

Intense exercise

Physical activity involving jumping or impact can affect the ball of the foot and cause pain in the pads of the foot. Especially if:

  • It is done on very hard or unfavorable terrain.
  • If too much correction has to be made in gait balance.
  • If the exercises are too intense, as in the runners.

Lack of adequate hydration

When the body does not receive the necessary amount of water, the joints lose hydration, worsening any process that could cause metatarsalgia.

Septic arthritis

An infection of a metatarsal joint can also cause intense pain in that area. It can be favored by chronic diseases such as:

  • Diabetes.
  • An injury.
  • An exposed fracture.


Diabetes is quite a complex disease. Usually, type 2 diabetes is present due to bad habits (eating, sedentary lifestyle, among others). It is generally associated with being overweight, which per se can cause problems in the pads of the foot.

When this disease exists, there is an alteration in the nerve endings, appearing less sensitive and the consequent production of wounds. As the immune system does not work correctly, infections can be favored.


Different diseases that affect the joints can cause metatarsalgia, as in gout or rheumatic arthritis. Only one joint or several in the body may be affected; there may also be other accompanying symptoms. A good diagnosis can collaborate to a more effective treatment.


One of the most common causes of pain in the pad of the foot is that the weight of the person exceeds his height, with which the overload generated on that area of ​​the foot will cause significant pain.

Suppose this may be the reason for your discomfort. In that case, you should take seriously the possibility of changing your habits since it can become a chronic problem, or it can be complicated by foot deformities, alteration in other joints, and a greater possibility of the appearance of a neuroma of Morton.

Treatment for pain in the pads of the foot

It is important to treat pain in the pads of the foot and see a specialist doctor. It will be your doctor who will make a diagnosis of your situation to specify the specific treatment.

In addition to asking you possible reasons to rule out causes and check the metatarsal area, the doctor may request tests such as an X-ray or ultrasound if he thinks it is convenient. Sometimes an MRI can also be used, but it is not the most common.

Until you get to the diagnosis, you can, perhaps, medicate yourself with pain relievers of an anti-inflammatory type. You must be careful with their use and not abuse them because they are not without adverse effects.

Depending on your case, some of the indications that your doctor may indicate are:

  • Rest: with your foot up.
  • Cold placement in the affected area.
  • Change of footwear: with a low and wide heel adapted to the shape of your foot.
  • Go to physiotherapy or kinesiotherapy: very important to help you recover and prevent other injuries.
  • In very exceptional cases, he may indicate infiltration with corticosteroids or surgery if he considers this the only way to help you.

Natural remedies for footpad pain

You can use different natural therapies to improve pain in the pad of the foot:

  • Cold baths: Footbaths, so used in ancient times, are a fantastic tool to reduce inflammation of the metatarsal. You can alternate it with hot water, promoting body circulation.
  • St. John’s Wort: Its scientific name is Glechoma hederacea. It has anti-inflammatory properties whether applied in external compresses or if its infusion is taken.
  • Artemis: The Vulgaris artemisia can be applied in hot fomentation on the affected area or can be used as infusion. 2 or 3 cups a day help calm joint and nervous discomfort.
  • Birch: Joint problems can also benefit from the Betula alba. You can drink up to 2 cups of an infusion prepared based on this plant.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pain in the pad of the foot: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints, and Muscles.

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