Metatarsalgia is a blanket term for all forefoot pain which affects the bones connecting the mid-foot to the toes and may include, stress fractures, neuroma (nerve damage), arthritis, gout, bunions, hammer toes and pain from joints across the ball of the foot.
Morton’s Neuroma, aka Morton’s Neuralgia and Morton’s Metatarsalgia, is a benign neuroma of an intermetatarsal plantar nerve, most commonly of the third and fourth intermetatarsal spaces.
Symptoms include pain on weight bearing, frequently after only a short time. The pain is felt as a shooting pain affecting the adjacent halves of the two toes. Burning, numbness and paresthesia (pins and needles) may also be experienced. The pain is due to pressure on the enlarged section of nerve where it passes between the metatarsal heads and is squeezed between them.
The main cause of Morton’s Neuroma is “ill fitting” footwear, usually slip-on shoes. Orthoses and corticosteroid injections are widely used to treat this condition. If surgical intervention is required (neurectomy) it involves removing the affected piece of nerve tissue.
Also known as avascular necrosis, Freiburg’s Infarction is a condition where progressive degeneration of the head of the metatarsal bone (usually the second toe) results in foot pain.
The condition is more common in females, with the main treatment being to remove stress from the area usually by way of orthoses and a reduction in physical activity.