How to Deal With Forefoot Pain

How to Deal With Forefoot Pain

Walking around while experiencing burning, aching, or sharp foot pain is not only uncomfortable but can pose a frustrating dilemma. As you try to go about your day-to-day, foot pain may be ever-present or it may come and go—depending on what’s causing it. In fact, there are a few different conditions that can cause pain in the ball of your foot, pain in toe joints, or big toe pain.

In this article, we’re going to explore the cause of forefoot pain—and what you can do to alleviate it.

Conditions That Cause Forefoot Pain

A variety of conditions can result in pain in the feet and toes. For instance, experiencing ball foot pain when walking is called metatarsalgia, which is a bit of a catch-all term for forefoot pain. And this can even be the symptom of an underlying condition, such as arthritis or misalignment caused by bunions.

Sesamoiditis, on the other hand, is when the sesamoids (the bones within a tendon) below the big toe joint, become inflamed. Meanwhile, Morton’s Neuroma, or Neuroma foot, is when a nerve is pinched, typically between the third and fourth metatarsal bones (the bones that form the arches of the foot). General toe pain can further encompass various other conditions like gout, bunions, Phalaznx Foot, Hammertoe, or Psudeogout.

All of this is to say that there are numerous conditions that can lead to forefoot pain. And these conditions and injuries happen due to various causes, which we explore in the next section.

What Can Cause Pain in the Forefoot?

Forefoot pain is not typically an isolated issue. It can have several causes, with some types of pain gradually arising and other types of pain coming on rather suddenly. Some factors that may contribute to forefoot pain include the following.

Foot Shape

Sometimes you’re at higher risk for forefoot pain simply because of the shape of your foot. If you have a high arch, you’re prone to forefoot pain because there’s extra pressure on your metatarsal bones. For example, Morton’s foot—which is when your second toe is longer than your big toe—can cause pain, as well as calluses.

Being Overweight

Having excess weight on your body means more pressure on your feet, which can lead to forefoot pain, swollen toes, and other conditions. As such, weight loss may help alleviate symptoms or completely eradicate them. If this sounds like you; discuss your options with your doctor or a nutritionist.

Certain Exercise Routines

If you’re an athlete or an avid runner, you have a higher risk of metatarsalgia and forefoot pain. While running, the front of the foot absorbs considerable force when hitting the ground. High-impact sports are further a significant cause of forefoot pain, especially if you don’t have proper footwear or your footwear doesn’t fit your feet correctly.

Improper Shoes

Many of us have felt the pain of wearing shoes that were not right for us. Whether they’re improperly fitted, have high heels, or lack support, wearing the wrong shoes can cause our feet some serious grief. In fact, forefoot pain is ultra-common for those who wear high heels frequently, as most of your weight is on the ball of your foot.


Minor fractures in your foot bones can cause pain that may not feel like a cause for concern. However, they can change how you walk to avoid the pain that comes from putting weight on your foot. In turn, this can actually lead to further injuries and pain.


Foot deformities, such as hammertoe, bunions, intermetatarsal bursitis, and gout, can also lead to persistent forefoot pain. Finding viable treatments and solutions for these conditions and the pain they cause can help you find some relief (more on this below).

How to Relieve Your Forefoot Pain

Putting weight on your feet when they are painful isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. Luckily, there are various forefoot pain treatment options—offering easy and inexpensive ways to help reduce pain and inflammation and helping you get back on your feet!

Metatarsal Pads

Metatarsal pads are a pad that you can place in your shoe to help reduce the pressure put on your foot. For instance, the Podi Metatarsal Pad is designed to alleviate the pain and discomfort that comes along with forefoot pain. The unique gel pad design adds support to the area and takes the pressure off the ball of your foot. With a thoughtfully-crafted toe attachment, the Podi Metatarsal Pad stays in place. It provides comfort while conforming to the contours of your feet.

Metatarsal pads, such as the Podi Metatarsal Pad and others, are perfect for those who are overweight, aging, or athletes, offering a little extra cushion to combat your pain.


One of the easiest ways to reduce forefoot pain is to give your feet a good rest. Take the pressure off your feet by elevating your legs after walking or moving around. If you’re experiencing forefoot pain, continuing to walk or exercise can worsen the problem or cause more stress. Opting for low-impact exercises like biking or swimming is ideal since these types of activities take the pressure off of your joints.

Pain Reliever

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. While they can easily be found in your nearest pharmacy, you don’t want to rely on these medications for too long. Side effects of long-term use of these types of medications may result in unwanted gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach pain, cramps, and more.


Icing the affected area can help reduce inflammation and provide pain relief. Protect your skin by wrapping up the ice pack in fabric or a towel and apply to your feet for 15-20 minutes at a time.

Arch Supports

You may want to consider getting arch support, such as orthotics. You can pick these up over-the-counter or have them custom-made, depending on your needs and use. Basically, these supports fit into your shoes and help reduce the stress on the metatarsal bones. In turn, this can eliminate your forefoot pain.

Proper Shoes

Proper fitting shoes can make a world of difference for your feet. If your shoes are too tight or loose, especially during exercise, it can cause a lot of foot pain. Wearing high heels occasionally is fine but shouldn’t be done all the time. Lastly, you want to ensure you’re wearing the appropriate footwear for the activity you’re performing. For example, if you’re running, you should wear proper running shoes.

When to Seek Help for Forefoot Pain

Many issues can cause forefoot pain, and not all of them require medical attention. If the pain lasts longer than a day or persists, you may want to consult with your Podiatrist. They may conduct image testing to gain a further understanding of what’s happening beneath the surface.

If you’ve recently completed a big workout or your feet are sore after a long day, you may just need some extra support, such as the Podi Metatarsal Pads, or simply some rest. At the end of the day, forefoot pain doesn’t have to loom over you. There are many strategies to combat it and prevent it.