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Causes of Metatarsal Joint Pain

Tuesday, 05 December 2023 00:00

Metatarsal joint pain, or pain in the ball of the foot, commonly results from misalignment of the joint surfaces. This puts pressure on the joint lining and destroys cartilage in the joints. Metatarsophalangeal, or MTP, joint misalignment can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis, a disorder that inflames the joints. In rheumatoid arthritis, hammer toes can develop, which can worsen joint pain and misalignment. Fat tissue, which helps cushion the joints when bearing weight, can be pushed forward under the toes, resulting in a loss of cushioning in the ball of the foot. A lack of cushioning normally occurs as many people age. It can make people more susceptible to pain when the ball of the foot is stressed or injured repeatedly, by running or walking excessively. A loss of cushioning also may cause damage to the nerves of the foot and lead to the development of calluses. MTP joint pain can also result from osteoarthritis or stiffening of the joints of the ball of the foot, often at the big toe joint. Many people with these disorders have an abnormal motion of the foot while bearing weight and walking. Walking is painful for people with metatarsal joint pain. The skin over the joint may feel mildly warm to the touch, and swelling may be present. Over time, pain and stiffening can be disabling. If you are experiencing extreme pain in the ball of the foot, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. This specialized foot doctor can examine the foot and suggest appropriate treatment options. 

Foot Pain

Foot pain can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you have a foot pain, consult with Barry P. Weinstein, DPM from Bellaire Podiatry. Our doctor will assess your condition and provide you with quality foot and ankle treatment.


Foot pain is a very broad condition that could be caused by one or more ailments. The most common include:

  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bone Spurs
  • Corns
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Ingrown Toenails
  • Arthritis (such as Gout, Rheumatoid, and Osteoarthritis)
  • Flat Feet
  • Injury (from stress fractures, broken toe, foot, ankle, Achilles tendon ruptures, and sprains)
  • And more


To figure out the cause of foot pain, podiatrists utilize several different methods. This can range from simple visual inspections and sensation tests to X-rays and MRI scans. Prior medical history, family medical history, and any recent physical traumatic events will all be taken into consideration for a proper diagnosis.


Treatment depends upon the cause of the foot pain. Whether it is resting, staying off the foot, or having surgery; podiatrists have a number of treatment options available for foot pain.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Bellaire and Houston, TX . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

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