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Pain in the sole of the foot near the toes: causes and treatments

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on
Pain in the sole of the foot near the toes

Pain in the sole near the toes is better known as metatarsalgia. It is a very annoying problem that can sometimes prevent you from doing normal daily activities.

Many causes can trigger this type of pain, and treatment should be according to them. Among the most common are: foot deformities, excessive physical activity, excess weight, and widespread diseases such as diabetes or arthritis.

Continue reading this article by FastlyHeal, in which we explain all the causes of pain in the sole near the toes and their treatment.

Lack of elasticity

The lack of adequate hydration of body tissues can lead to ligaments such as joints, muscles, fat, and bones, even expressing that lack of nutrition and more rigid or less consistent.

This can manifest itself with:

  • Rigidity.
  • Pain.
  • Noise in the joints.
  • Lack of support.

What to do?

You should know that this lack of adequate hydration is not solved only by drinking water, but something fundamental is the contribution of healthy fats to the diet.

A source of healthy fats that also notably improves digestion and helps tissues to be nourished appropriately is clarified butter (also known as ghee).

In addition, the diet must be based on healthy and natural foods as much as possible, leaving aside processed preservatives, refined vegetable oils, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, etc.

Use of inappropriate footwear

If your footwear is not comfortable or appropriate for the activities you do, your feet may be suffering from it.

A prevalent cause of chronic metatarsalgia is wearing high-heeled shoes. Although they can look very stylized, they are unhealthy and can cause foot deformities if you use them frequently.

On the other hand, the practice of physical activity such as running or hiking in the mountains ( trekking ) requires the use of suitable shoes for that purpose, that is, with a confident grip, cushioning, etc.

What to do?

First, it is important to rest from the activity and opt for more comfortable shoes. On the other hand, you should try not to use boots that generate discomfort.

If you have a lot of pain, consult one or a professional to determine if this is the natural source of the problem.

Some practices can help you improve discomfort, such as:

  • Physiotherapy.
  • Local cold: if you notice inflammation and redness, you can apply cold to the area that hurts.
  • Local heat: if the pain occurs without inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatories: you can opt for the usual drugs such as ibuprofen or diclofenac or natural options such as ginger and turmeric.

Use of inappropriate footwear

Alteration in the tread

A foot with a very high instep or when the second toe is longer than the first toe (big toe) can generate more pressure on the metatarsal area, that is, behind the toes.

On the other hand, if there is a foot deformity, more significant pressure ends in pain in this area. This happens in cases of:

What to do?

The most important thing is a proper diagnosis of the problem to treat metatarsalgia correctly.

Pain in the metatarsal can improve with physical therapy, insoles, and suitable footwear. Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs can be used when the pain is very intense.

A beneficial practice for metatarsalgias is massage with sesame or coconut oil. Performing a massage at least once a day before going to sleep is key to improving circulation in the area and reducing pain.

In some cases, surgery to help correct a foot deformity may be necessary.

You must bear in mind that healthy habits are essential to solving problems of this type. A healthy diet and adequate and restful rest are necessary to achieve a much faster improvement.

Excessive physical activity or training

Excess physical activity is just as harmful as not exercising at all. If you exceed your capacity and demand yourself beyond measure, your body will suffer.

It is a common problem to see these overuse injuries in people who run or jump, play soccer, basketball, and even baseball.

It can be a ligament problem, and there may even have been fatigue fractures in the metatarsal area, in which case the pain will be very pronounced.

What to do?

It is essential to stop all types of physical activity that involve supporting your feet and demanding them if you want to regain your well-being.

Covering the symptoms with analgesics or infiltrations with anti-inflammatory drugs is not the solution since it lengthens the problem and can generate complications. It is essential to receive an accurate diagnosis from one or a specialist to achieve adequate treatment.

Cold compresses may be necessary if the injury is acute. Sometimes, heat is better if it is a chronic problem and there is no apparent inflammation.


The feet are the most critical point of support for the body. That is why overloading them when overweight can produce pain in the soles of the feet near the toes.

What to do?

Beyond trying to lose weight, the most important thing is to improve digestion through the incorporation of healthy habits, since restrictive diets do not usually promote long-term weight loss, but leave the body in a significant imbalance that will indeed exacerbate the discomfort you have, such as this pain in the front part of the soles of your feet.

That is why we suggest that you try to eat more healthy foods such as whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits in season and avoid processed products even when they are low in calories.

A very beneficial practice is to perform physical exercise according to your physical condition to improve your circulation and promote the loss of calories.

General illnesses

Some systemic diseases can also manifest with pain in the sole. This may be the case of:


This metabolic problem can cause pain due to circulation problems or alterations in the nerves with altered sensation.

To improve this disorder, it is essential to choose healthy habits. Although it is a chronic disease, much can be improved with a few changes.

If pain is significant, massage and heat may help.


Infectious arthritis can cause significant pain in the back of the fingers if the affected joint is in the metatarsus.

In that case, there will be inflammation, redness, pain, and the possibility of accumulation of pus.

Treatment usually requires the administration of antibiotics.

Rheumatic problems

Chronic joint problems, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, can cause significant pain in the ball of the foot or other common areas.

The important thing is recognizing the cause and adopting good habits regarding food, exercise, sleep, etc. This is key to improving health, something fundamental in this chronic disease that has no solution. Well-being will come if you propose to do things differently and by listening to your body.

Neuroma de Morton

It is an inflammation of the nerve sheaths in the feet. This generates a series of symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the sole, often behind the toes (between the third and fourth toes.)
  • The sensation of having a stone in the shoe.
  • Feeling numb

The cause is frequently associated with irritation or pressure of the nerves of the foot in this area, which can be caused by various factors such as:

  • Use of tight shoes.
  • Wearing high heels.
  • Impact sports that involve running or jumping.
  • Alterations in the shape of the foot, such as bunions or hammertoes.

What to do?

Treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are. It can range from insoles or metatarsal pads to the need for surgery.

It is essential to accompany the treatment with healthy habits, good rest, wearing comfortable shoes, and avoiding impact activities.

How long does a metatarsalgia last?

The time that a pain in the soles of the feet lasts at the toes level is very variable since it depends on the cause, the previous health problems that you suffer, and how much you do to feel better. It can last only a week or turn into chronic pain.

If it is an acute problem, you do not strain your body inappropriately, you try to lead a healthy lifestyle, and you keep rest while you are in pain, it is likely to last much less than if you continue to be physically active, do not rest properly and eat in an unhealthy way, for example.

Wearing comfortable shoes, the appropriate insoles for the shape of your foot, or using a pad that supports the painful area can help you recover faster.

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

If you want to read more articles similar to pain in the sole near the toes: causes and treatments, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints, and Muscles.

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