The feet carry the entire body and are permanently loaded. If pain develops in the ball of the foot, this can have various causes. Since you keep rolling over and pushing off the ball of your foot as you move, you may experience discomfort in the front of your foot, which can indicate malposition (e.g. hallux valgus), overuse, inflammation (e.g. osteoarthritis) or irritated nerves.
Since the balls of the feet are finely constructed, overloading or fractures or cracks can occur quickly. A simple bend while walking or running can already lead to a torn ligament or at least an overstimulation of the ligaments, which in turn can manifest itself with pain at the ball of the foot.
Pinched or irritated nerves can also cause discomfort in the front of the foot. These can be encouraged, for example, by wearing unsuitable footwear.
However, even in suitable shoes, prolonged wear can cause pinched nerves (tarsal tunnel syndrome), which can cause pain. If the feet are generally exposed to high overload, irritation of the nerves (Morton neuroma) can be the cause of pain.
If, in addition, there are known complaints in the back area, such as herniated discs or other diseases, these can also make themselves felt in pain in the ball of the foot. In extreme cases, numbness may even occur in the foot, possibly accompanied by a burning or pulling sensation.
Malpositions as a cause of pain in the ball of the foot
Most often, the cause of pain in the ball of the foot can be found in a malposition, which affects the big toe in particular. The so-called hallux valgus refers to a deformity of the big toe that pushes inward. In the long run, the big toe approaches the other toes and is thus at an unhealthy angle.
A hallux can be predisposed or it can be caused by wearing the wrong shoes.
Treatment of pain in the ball of the foot
Since pain in the ball of the foot can have various causes, the first thing to do is to get to the bottom of them. A basic examination of the entire body apparatus, especially with a view to the condition of the back, legs and feet can provide information about the causes behind the painful symptoms. A physiotherapist can – according to the diagnosis – initiate therapy measures such as gymnastics or massages, recommend splints or insoles or advise further measures to correct possible irritations, malpositions or overloads. It is important to clarify the cause promptly to avoid long-lasting damage.