Ball of Foot Pain

Ball of Foot Pain is a part of the sole of the foot formed by the metatarsophalangeal joints and an overlying fat body. The Ball of Foot Pain is in contact with the ground and carries a large part of the body weight . The Ball of Foot Pain is therefore exposed to everyday stress , which can cause pain in the ball of the foot. In addition to a heavy burden, the pain in the ball of the foot can also be based on various diseases , which is why long-lasting pain in the ball of the foot should be clarified by a doctor

Ball of Foot Pain


Most often it comes in the context of an overload or overuse of the football, for example, after a hike or after standing for a long time, to pain in the ball of the foot. The development of pain in theBall of Foot Pain is favored by wearing the wrong footwear . Even overweightcan lead to an overload of the football and to pain in this.

Diseases of the toe joints that form the Ball of Foot Pain can also trigger pain in the ball of the foot. These include inflammation of the toe joints , inflammation of the sensitive periosteum , which surrounds the toe joints, as well as wear or fractures of the toe joints.

Furthermore, pain in the Ball of Foot Pain can also be caused by a gout or rheumatic disease, by a circulatory disturbance of the foot or by damage to the nerves of the football.

In the case of long-lasting pain in the ball of the foot, which occurs without overloading the football, a bone tumor can also be the cause.

In addition, congenital or acquired malformations of the foot can be the reason for pain in the ball of the foot.

Figure Ball of Foot Pain

Pain in the ball
of the foot (the Ball of Foot Pain is part of the sole of the foot)

  1. Toe end member – phalanx distalis
  2. Big toe joint – Articulatio interphalangea
  3. Toe base – phalanx proximalis
  4. Toe joints – Articulationes metatarsophalangeae
  5. Big toe
  6. Metatarsal bone – Os metatarsi
  7. Small toe pads
  8. Foot sole – Planta pedis 

 Overloading or overstraining of the football (walking, long standing) 
 False footwear 
 Severe obesity 
 Disease of the toe joints (inflammation, wear or fractures) 
 Gout (deposition of uric acid crystals) or rheumatic disease 
 Bone tumor

Ball of Foot Pain due to gout

The clinical picture of gout is a relapsing metabolic disease in which there is too much uric acid in the blood.

Typically, the disease deposits uric acid crystals in joints and leads to severe inflammation. 
An acute attack of gout causes very severe pain and often occurs in the so-called metatarsophalangeal joint .

The pain typically occurs in such a gout attack after the consumption of alcohol and / or meat. In addition, the number of seizures increases especially at night or in the morning. The pain in the metatarsophalangeal joint can radiate into the entire foot which is usually painful and red and swollen. At the same time fever can occur. Normal walking is usually not possible during an acute gout attack. During such a spell, the seizure is usually treated with analgesics or cortisone .

In order to reduce the likelihood of another attack of gout, a change in diet ( purine-poor diet) and, if appropriate, ingestion of so-called uricostatic drugs should be carried out. 
If an acute attack of gout is suspected, a doctor should always be consulted for further clarification.

Figure pain ankle

Foot Pain

  1. Achilles tendonitis / Achilles tendon rupture
  2. Bone fracture – toes, metatarsus, tarsal bones (here, outer ankle fracture )
  3. Ligament extension / ligament tear on the ankle
  4. Lower and upper heel spurs calcaneus spores
  5. Hammer toes and claw toes ( deformities of the toe bones) Digitus malleus
  6. Plantar warts Verrucae plantares
  7. Hallux valgus – (deviation of the big toe in the metacarpophalangeal joint)
  8. Hallux rigidus – (joint wear of the great toe joint )
  9. Inflamed nails / nail fungus
  10. Osteoarthritis / arthritis – degenerative change of joints / inflammation of the joints


Pains in the Ball of Foot Pain may be drawing or stinging depending on the cause, may be accompanied by tingling and numbness , or may be associated with painful pressure points and blisters following excessive exercise. For an inflammatory cause of pain, the Ball of Foot Pain may be red and swollen . Depending on the cause, the pain in the Ball of Foot Pain occurs only when the football is under stress, immediately after the strain on the football or even at rest.


First, a detailed questioning of the person concerned by the doctor takes place in order to exclude already some possible triggers of pain in the ball of the foot. The better the person concerned can describe and localize his pain in the ball of the foot, the easier the diagnosis will be.

Other important questions include when exactly and in which situation the pain will occur, if there are other complaints besides the pain in the Ball of Foot Pain and if the affected person additionally suffers from other illnesses.

Afterwards an appraisal and an investigation of the football take place. Also, an X-ray of the foot can provide clues to the cause of pain in the ball of the foot. A wear of the metatarsophalangeal joints , fractures or bone tumors are often visible on the radiograph. Furthermore, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and an examination of the affected person’s blood can also contribute to the diagnosis.

Where are your complaints?

Pain outside

In general,  Ball of Foot Pain is usually due to an overloading of the corresponding area.

If Ball of Foot Pain occurs on the outside , this can have different causes. Thus, an overload, which mainly acts on the foot from the outside, may be influenced by a misalignment of the legs. Such a malposition usually leads to a morbid unwinding while running and as a result to an overuse of only a certain part of the football. 
But even without a malposition of the legs, it can come isolated to Ball of Foot Pain on the outside of the foot. For example, overloading due to extreme overweight or physical activity, especially with correct roll-off behavior, can be especially noticeable on the outside.

In case of persistent pain, a doctor should be consulted, which excludes other diseases, such as warts on the sole of the foot in this area and may possibly perform a running analysis . TheBall of Foot Pain can be supported by shoe inserts in case of noticeable roll-off behavior. Sometimes additional therapy with medication or physiotherapy may be necessary.


Strictly speaking, the Ball of Foot Pain comprises only the front part of the foot behind the toes , which is in direct contact with the ground when running. So the Ball of Foot Pain is located in the front foot area. Pains in the back Ball of Foot Pain include complaints that occur in the middle to front foot area.

Pain, which occurs further back on the ball of the foot, like all other pains on the ball of the foot, usually occurs due to an overload. Thus, a non-optimal rolling behavior with simultaneous high stress of football can lead to this complaint. In order to be able to better narrow down the cause of the pain on the posterior ball of the foot, the type of movement in which the symptoms occur and the precise localization of the pain are decisive. 

For example, if a new shoe is used and the pain occurred shortly after the shoe was changed, it is most likely responsible for the onset of the condition. Warts or muscular problems resulting from splayfoot can also cause pain in this area.

Outside / center

Pain on the outside and middle of the foot can generally be different.

Mainly responsible for pain of the football is, regardless of the exact localization, an overload of the affected area. Especially if the symptoms only occur in certain areas of the football and possibly even on both feet, this indicates a striking rolling behavior when walking and running which can be held responsible for the complaints. 

Such a rolling behavior can be accurately diagnosed with a running analysis and treated by means of deposits. Other causes that cause pain only on the outside and in the middle of the football are the wearing of unsuitable shoes or the execution of special activities that particularly stress these areas.

Even a malposition of the hip can cause a false burden of football and thus cause pain of this kind. Especially if the pain does not disappear even after a long time and no obvious cause for the symptoms can be found, it is advisable to visit a doctor who can find the individual diagnosis and initiate a suitable therapy.

Big toe

When the big toe is in pain this may have different causes depending on the symptoms. Common cause of a sore big toe is an acute attack of gout which causes severe pain due to uric acid crystal deposition in the joint. In an acute attack of gout, in addition to the pain, other symptoms such as swelling of the toe and redness of the area occur.

Other causes that can lead to pain in the big toe area are warts and colloquially as corns called lesions . In addition, there may be pain in unfavorable rolling behavior and an overload of the foot area on the big toe. When changing the shoes and the activity or sport practiced should be questioned critically whether on the one hand, the technique is carried out correctly and the footwear fits to the respective foot.

In addition to the correct size of the shoes should be paid to special features such as special shoes for lowering or spreading feet.


Strictly speaking, the toes do not belong to the area of ​​the sole of the foot known as the ball of the foot.

However, since these are directly adjacent to the Ball of Foot Pain and contribute to the natural rolling movement of the foot, these are often affected by pain when the foot is overloaded. Pain on the toes can, however, in addition to an overload by a conspicuous rolling of the foot have other causes. 
So the choice of shoes is essential for a painless walking and running.

In addition to the correct size of the shoes, the shape of the sole is also crucial. A treadmill analysis can help to find the right model when buying a shoe. Diseases such as colloquially as corn designated lesions also occur frequently at the toes and can cause discomfort. The same applies to warts around the toes and the transition between the Ball of Foot Pain and toes. In case of long-term discomfort a doctor should be consulted so that not only the diagnosis can be started but also a therapy of the complaint.


The term “football” describes anatomically the region of the sole of the foot, which has contact with the ground during the typical rolling movement in the front foot area.

The foot itself consists of a variety of different bones and muscles. 
A certain area of ​​the foot, which lies behind the toes, is called the metatarsus . This area is formed by five metatarsal bones ( Os metatarsalia IV ). A number of different muscles run in this area of ​​the foot and allow a smooth movement of the toes. They are therefore essential for the rolling of the foot while running. Pain, which arises in the area of ​​the metatarsus, can be of different cause.

Thus, a simple overuse of the muscles and tendons in the area of ​​the metatarsus can cause severe pain. This is also the most common reason for complaints in this area.

In addition, high-impact metatarsal injuries may cause fractures of the metatarsal bones. Especially in the colloquial ” kinking ” it can come to these breaks. A metatarsal bone fracture is usually accompanied by severe pain, swelling and bruising in the affected area. If these concomitant symptoms fail, a bone fracture is unlikely. For longer-lasting complaints, it is advisable to visit a doctor who can find the cause of the symptoms and initiate appropriate therapy.


The treatment depends on the cause of the pain in the Ball of Foot Pain and includes conservative, medicinal or surgical measures .

Pain that occurs after overworking or overuse of football, often disappears by itself and can be alleviated by immobilizing the foot. Furthermore, the use of cold or heat for the treatment of pain in the Ball of Foot Pain into consideration.

If the pain in the Ball of Foot Pain causes inflammation , anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving medicines , such as diclofenac , can be used in the form of tablets or ointments.

If a bone tumor is responsible for footpad pain, surgical removal of the tumor is often the method of choice. Also malalignment of the foot can be corrected in the context of an operation.


The best way to prevent pain in the ball of the foot, in which one avoids overuse of the football . If a heavy load of football, for example, a hike planned, so you can avoid the emergence of pain in the Ball of Foot Pain by wearing suitable footwear .


The prognosis depends on the cause of the pain in the ball of the foot. Pains in the ball of the foot, which result from incorrect loading or overloading of the football, often disappear after a short time by themselves.

Ball of Foot Pain
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