The Facts on Pain in the Ball of Your Foot:

Ball-of-Foot Pain 101

Internal xray image of foot indicating  pain in the ball of the foot. 

The ball of the foot is the portion of the foot between your arch and toes, where bones called your metatarsals are located. As you walk, your weight is transferred from your heel to the ball of your foot, and if the weight is unevenly transferred to the metatarsals and over the ball of your foot, pain and swelling of the area can occur.

You may have it if you experience pain in the ball of foot area. Frequently, painful calluses may also occur in the skin of that area.

What Causes Ball-of-Foot Pain?

As we age, we generally lose the fat pad underneath the ball of the foot, causing abnormal pressure and shock to the area. People with abnormally high arches or people who are overweight may also experience foot pain in the ball of the foot.

This kind of pain can also be caused by certain foot abnormalities, arthritis, ill-fitting shoes, wearing high heels too often, or any abnormal pressure to the ball of the foot – by a change in the way you walk, for example. Other foot problems, such as hammertoes, can also cause incorrect pressure distribution.

Obviously, staying off your feet just isn’t an answer. But there are steps you can take to manage ball-of-foot pain. For example:

  • Use insoles designed to lift and separate the long bones of the arch, transferring pressure away from the ball of foot area
  • Avoid wearing high heels until the pain goes away, as they can cause an abnormal shift of weight to the balls of your feet
  • Wear proper shoes when exercising to evenly distribute weight throughout your feet
  • Maintain a healthy weight