Pain in the Ball of the Foot

Conditions that Cause Ball of Foot Pain

Pain in the ball of the foot, the area located between the toes and arch, is a condition referred to as metatarsalgia. Sufferers report discomfort and pain that usually centers on one or more of the five bones (metatarsals) in this mid-portion of the foot. Such pain can be linked to a “dropped metatarsal,” in which one or more of the foot’s five long bones (called metatarsals) sinks lower than the others, putting undue pressure on that joint.

Other possible causes of metatarsalgia include arthritis, impact injuries (whether from the strain of athletic activity, or from an accident), walking, standing or running on hard surfaces, and wearing shoes with stiff, hard soles.

More supportive footwear can help. If this does not help, your podiatrist may prescribe orthotic inserts that equalize pressure and reduce the pain.

Our Doctor Can Help

If you’re not sure which condition is causing pain in the ball of your foot. Don’t hesitate to contact us! Whether you need a routine checkup, a simple corrective shoe insert or foot surgery, Houston Foot & Ankle is equipped to handle all your podiatric needs.

Arthritic Foot & Ankle Care

With 33 joints and a remarkable daily weight load, it’s no wonder that feet are especially prone to arthritis. Arthritis is a potentially debilitating condition that affects almost 40 million Americans, most of them over age 50. The disease causes inflammation and swelling of the cartilage and lining of the joints, generally accompanied by an increase in the fluid in the joints. —an especially painful situation for the feet and ankles.


About one-third of people in Western countries know the ache and irritation of bunions. A bunion is an inherited bone deformity causing an enlarged joint at the base of the big toe (the metatarsalphalangeal joint), which causes the toe and joint to shift out of place. The condition is progressive and can lead to chronic pain and difficulty walking. This pain is caused by the destruction of the joint cartilage.

Calluses and Corns

A callus is a hardened area of skin on the foot caused by friction between the shoe and a prominent bone, or bone spur. This thickened skin can form on top of nerves and/or fluid-filled sacs causing intense pain and soreness. These conditions most often occur along the heel, the ball of the foot, or the outside of the big toe. So while calluses affect the skin, they actually point to an underlying bone issue.

Flat Feet

Flat foot is a common structural condition characterized by low arches, collapsing ankles, fatigue and soreness. Flat foot can occur during childhood if the arches of the feet don’t develop, after an injury, or from the wear and tear of aging.


Twenty-five percent (25%) of bones are located in your feet. This makes them quite susceptible to bone fractures. Certain activities or injuries can cause a fracture, or “break,” in one or more of these bones. Pain, swelling, redness, and even bruising are signs of a possible fracture. Fractures of the foot can be diagnosed by x-rays or other studies.


Neuromas are the result of friction on a group of nerves in the ball of the foot, often between the third and fourth toes. The nerves become enlarged, and sufferers may experience a pins-and-needles sensation, a feeling of thickness, a sense of heat or pain, or a lack of sensation. Symptoms include pain in the forefoot and between the toes, tingling and numbness in the ball of the foot, swelling between the toes, and pain in the ball of the foot when weight is placed on it.

Plantar Fibromas

Plantar fibromas are benign tissue tumors or growths on the plantar, or bottom surface of the foot. Unlike plantar warts, which grow on the skin, these grow deep inside on a thick band of ligaments called the plantar fascia. The tumors make walking painful and put undue stress and pressure on different parts of the foot.


Warts can be painful. Sometimes they are confused with calluses and corns. A wart is caused by a viral infection that enters a cut in the skin. Warts can recur in the same location over and over. If a wart is not treated properly, if can become a cluster of warts and be more difficult to get rid of. Warts are found in adults, teenagers, and children.