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Metatarsalgia Treatment at Home

Minute Read

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Posted 5 months ago

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Last updated: 04/12/2022

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by James McCormack

Metatarsalgia is a painful condition affecting the ball of the foot. It can be debilitating and significantly affect your quality of life. This article will share how to carry out Metatarsalgia Treatment at home.

Metatarsalgia Treatment at Home

  • Reduce Step Count
  • Rest
  • Anti-Inflammatories
  • Icing
  • Shoes
  • Insoles & Gel Pads
  • Non-Impact Activity

Reduce Step count

It is easy to build up your daily steps without realising it. Often patients tell us in the clinic that they have had a quiet day at home, but when we look at their watch, we can see that they quickly clocked up 3-4000 steps. Metatarsalgia is aggravated by walking and standing, so reducing this can improve your pain. Be careful not to boom and bust, meaning that doing more steps and activities on good days results in more significant pain the following day. We always recommend treating a good day like a bad day when it comes to your step count; consistency is key. There are no target amount of steps; instead, do a typical week, log a diary of your morning pain as this is influenced by what you have done the day before, and you will quickly identify your threshold. Stay below this until your pain has subsided.

Rest

 

Metatarsalgia is an inflammatory condition, and while there are numerous causes, the quickest way to ease your pain is to rest from activity. We recommend resting from the activity for at least 10-14 days to allow the inflammation to subside before gradually returning to activities.

 

Anti-inflammatories

With oral medication and gel, always follow the guidance on the product with using it. A regular dosage of Ibuprofen can reduce the inflammation in your feet, resulting in pain relief. You can also try Voltaren gel by applying it locally to the affected area. It is essential to allow the gel to absorb for at least 45 minutes before putting a sock on or material over your foot.

Ice

A simple but effective form of Metatarsalgia treatment at home is to apply ice to the ball of your foot. Try icing it for 15 minutes every 3-4 hours to ease your pain. Be careful not to burn your foot, so move it slowly on the area or place a thin cloth between the ice and your foot.

Shoes

When you need to walk, wear cushioned stability shoes where possible. The cushioning protects the inflamed metatarsal heads and reduces your risk of further irritation. The stability element of a shoe reduces the amount of excess movement of the foot in the shoe. Stability shoes are important as extra movement can cause friction and increased Metatarsalgia pain. We recommend avoiding sandals and flip-flops if you have Metatarsalgia.

Insoles & Gel Pads

Off-the-shelf insoles can provide additional cushioning to the forefoot, reducing the impact and vibration from the ground into the foot when walking. A gel metatarsal pad can have the same effect if you can’t find insoles that fit into your shoes.

Choose Non-Impact Exercise

Impact activities are one of the primary aggravators of Metatarsalgia pain. While there isn’t as much force applied to the forefoot as in running or walking, there is still a low amount. If you need to exercise but don’t want to irritate your Metatarsalgia, we recommend swimming; if this is not an option, activities such as cycling or the rowing machine are good options.

Photo of woman swimming

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Article: Metatarsalgia Exercises 

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