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Metatarsalgia is pain that affects the front of the feet, made up of the metatarsal bones, which are small bones that form the toes and instep. Thus, it is possible for the person to feel pain when walking or when standing for a long time, and foot deformation and the presence of calluses may also be noticed.
Metatarsalgia can have a variety of causes, which include wearing inappropriate heels and shoes, high-impact exercise, being overweight, or foot deformities such as pes cavus or bunions.
Metatarsalgia is curable, and treatment is done with physical therapy exercises to improve foot support and mobility, in addition to the use of orthopedic insoles to accommodate and relieve pain when walking.Consultation with an orthopedist is important, especially in case of persistent pain, as it is possible to carry out a more in-depth assessment of the cause and be guided on the best treatment, which can be through medication and physiotherapy sessions.
Symptoms of Metatarsalgia
The main symptom of metatarsalgia is pain in the soles of the feet, which usually gets worse when walking or standing for a long time. In some cases, it is possible to observe deformity in the feet, which can make the pain even more intense, in addition to making it difficult to carry out day-to-day activities.
Also, some people with metatarsalgia may have calluses on the instep, demonstrating the areas that experience the most pressure. In addition, deviations or changes in the shape of the feet, such as deviation of the toes or bony protrusions, may be observed.
Metatarsalgia usually arises when there is irritation of the joints, tendons or nerves that support the metatarsals, and can be caused by:
- Wearing high heels or pointed shoes, as they tend to increase pressure on the metatarsals;
- Foot deformity, such as pes cavus or changes in toe shape, such as a bunion;
- Excess weight, which places greater stress on the bones of the feet;
- Neurological diseases that affect the nerves of the feet, such as Morton's Neuroma. Understand what it is and how to identify Morton's neuroma;
- Performing high-impact physical activities or for many hours, such as long-distance running, especially when there is no proper guidance, which lead to an overload of the metatarsals;
- Development of arthritis or arthrosis in the metatarsal bones, due to age-related bone wear or inflammation due to changes in immunity.
It is important that the cause of metatarsalgia is identified so that the most appropriate treatment can be initiated, preventing further deformities in the feet.
How is the diagnosis
The diagnosis of metatarsalgia must be made by the orthopedist based on the evaluation of symptoms and the presence of alterations in the feet. In addition, imaging tests such as X-rays and podoscopy are usually indicated, which aim to identify the shape of the feet and, thus, assess which are the places of greatest pressure during walking and when walking. standing. In this way, it is possible to verify the degree of metatarsalgia and, thus, indicate the most appropriate treatment.
How the treatment is done
Treatment of metatarsalgia is performed according to the orthopedist's guidance, and may be recommended:
- Take anti-inflammatory medication, such as Diclofenac or Ketoprofen, for example, which are prescribed by your doctor to relieve pain and discomfort;
- Perform physiotherapy, with exercises to improve foot support and mobility, in addition to training strength and balance, helping to correct the step.
- Prefer to wear comfortable and adapted shoes, avoiding tight heels or shoes;
- Use custom orthopedic insoles, which help to accommodate the feet and reduce the overload on the metatarsals;
Surgical treatment can be indicated by the orthopedist when previous treatments have not had an effect, especially when there is a lot of deformity or excess rigidity in the metatarsals..
Home care options
To relieve metatarsalgia, a great home remedy is to roll a bottle or marbles under the feet, in back-and-forth movements, doing a kind of massage on the sole of the foot, being a good way to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the region.
Also, scalding your feet with hot water, but being careful not to burn yourself, for 20 to 30 minutes, in addition to lying with your feet up or massaging your feet with essential oils are also good ways to relieve the discomfort.See more tips on how to relieve foot pain.