Foot pain. Where did it come from all of a sudden, and why won't it go away? Your Sparks, NV, podiatrists, Dr. Douglas Doxey and Dr. L. Bruce Ford, understand your discomfort, and they can help. Often called metatarsalgia, this persistent shooting pain on the ball of the foot requires accurate diagnosis and well-thought-out care. At the Foot & Ankle Institute of Nevada, you'll receive premiere podiatric services that soothe those painful feet and help you get on with life.
What is metatarsalgia?
According to the American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics & Medicine, metatarsalgia is a cluster of symptoms affecting the ball of the foot at the metatarsal heads of the second, third and fourth toes. The metatarsal bones are the foot bones which extend from the heel to the base of the toes.
The symptoms of this metatarsalgia include:
- Sharp, sudden pain
- Inability to flex the toes, or pain on flexing
- Inflammation and swelling
- Compensatory gait problems (the patient walks differently to avoid pain)
Metatarsalgia often feels as though the individual is stepping on small stones while walking barefoot. Unfortunately, the condition is persistent and usually develops because the foot is trying to avoid something that is chronically uncomfortable.
Causes range from obesity, poorly fitting shoes, the presence of bunions or arthritis, high arches, stress fractures (from running or other sports), and common toe deformities such as hammer or claw toes.
Your podiatrists in Sparks see numerous patients who suffer from metatarsalgia. Each receives a complete podiatric examination, gait analysis, and X-ray imaging. The doctors key in the individual's symptoms, trying to understand what causes the shooting pain, where it's located, when it starts, and what may relieve it.
Most often, Dr. Doxey and Dr. Ford use conservative treatments to relieve the discomforts of metatarsalgia. Although both podiatrists are highly qualified foot surgeons, surgery is not necessarily the path to pain relief and recovery of function. Conservative measures usually suffice, and they may include:
- Losing weight to relieve excess pressure on the ball of the foot and to avoid compensatory gait patterns
- Changing shoes to something more supportive and with ample room in the toes
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Shoe padding under the ball of the foot
- Custom-made shoe orthotics to relieve pressure and correct how the person walks
- Rest, ice, and elevation
- Exercises aimed at increasing strength, flexibility, and function
With very severe cases of bunions, hammertoes or claw toes, surgical correction of the deformities may help alleviate metatarsalgia.
If your feet hurt, you can get relief. Contact the Foot & Ankle Institute of Nevada for a consultation with Dr. Doxey or Dr. Ford in Sparks, NV. Expertise and kindness are hallmarks of their practice. Call (775) 331-1919.