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Metatarsalgia Neuromas, Stress Fractures, and Tendonitis

A pain experienced in the ball of the foot may have several different origins: stress fractures, neuromas, or tendonitis.

A stress fracture often begins either gradually or abruptly and is accompanied by swelling and occasionally some discoloration.

Pain that is intermittent or sharp and radiates into the toes may be a neuroma. A neuroma is a swollen nerve that gets pinched between the long bones behind the toes. It has often been described as a nerve tumor; however, in the strictest sense it is not a tumor but rather a swelling of the nerve secondary to some form of irritation. If left untreated the symptoms will often worsen.

Tendonitis is an inflammation in the ball of the foot associated with the tendons that go into the toes. The symptoms are similar to those associated with the neuroma. Tendonitis is often seen in runners and in women who wear high heeled shoes.

Home remedies for all of these conditions consist of wearing stiff-soled shoes with plenty of room in the toe area; over-the-counter anti-inflammatories such as Advil, Tylenol, Motrin or Alieve; and foot soaks in warm water and Epsom salts.

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