Regularly wearing high heels can cause hammertoes, ball of foot pain metatarsalgia, Morton's neuroma, bunions, degenerative diseases of the knee and many other medical conditions. Some of those conditions are permanent and may require surgery.
If you enjoy wearing heels, because they make your legs muscles look more defined or because they make you look taller, podiatrists recommend that you switch into more practical shoes whenever possible. Luckily, practical shoes have become more attractive and there is always the option of an insole.
Hammertoes, bunions and degenerative diseases of the knee occur after many years of constantly ignoring minor pain, small blisters or calluses. Morton's neuroma and metatarsalgia may be acute. In other words, the pain is sufficient enough that it can not be ignored.
Both of the latter two conditions affect the metatarsal region of the feet. This is an area that consist of five long bones and a number of joints, extending from the tips of the toes to the tarsal region, near the front of the ankle.
In ball of foot pain metatarsalgia, the affected area is between and behind the first and second toes; the first toe being the "big" toe. The ball-of-the-foot is the fleshy thick area, between the toes and the arches.
If the pain is between and behind the third and fourth toes, it is commonly described as Morton's neuroma, although it may not be a "true" neuroma. The term neuroma is usually used to describe a nerve tumor. In many cases of Morton's neuroma, no actual tumor exists.
People sometimes underestimate the value of well-designed shoes that fit well. Going barefoot on a sandy beach is good for your feet. But, for walking around on any other surface, except maybe plush carpeting, good footwear is essential.
Some people, such as those that suffer from diabetes should never go barefoot, regardless of how soft the carpet or warm the sand. Diabetics sometimes have reduced sensation in portions of their feet, such as the toes, combined with ball of foot pain metatarsalgia. Supportive and protective footwear should always be worn.
Our feet are like the foundations of a building, except that we are not rooted in one location. The pressure and shock that the feet absorb on a regular basis is more than is placed on any other part of the body. It's no wonder they get sore and tired.
If you suffer from ball of foot pain metatarsalgia, look at your shoes first. If you normally wear practical heels with a wide toe box that does not put pressure on the toes, then you may need an additional arch support or insole to support and cushion the metatarsal region.
The pain could also be a symptom of an injury; something that occurred while running or participating in a sport or when jumping down on a flat surface with bare feet. An injury like that is commonly referred to as a stone breeze.
If the ball of foot pain metatarsalgia is due to a stone breeze, it will just take a little time and a little extra cushion to resolve the problem. Forefoot insoles are among your options for cushioning the area.