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Ball of the Foot Pain

Pain in the ball of your foot can be very debilitating. Arch Foot & Ankle treats a variety of conditions that contribute to pain in the ball of the foot.

What conditions cause pain on the ball of the foot?


Ligaments surrounding the joint at the base of the second toe form a capsule, which helps the joint to function properly. Capsulitis—also referred to as predislocation syndrome—is a condition in which these ligaments become inflamed, causing considerable discomfort and, if left untreated, dislocation of the toe. Certain conditions and characteristics—bunions, second toe longer than the big toe, unstable arches, tight calf muscles—can make you prone to experiencing excessive pressure on the ball of the foot, resulting in capsulitis.

Symptoms of Capsulitis:

  • Swelling

  • Difficulty wearing shoes (can feel like there’s a marble or bunched-up sock)

  • Pain when walking barefoot

  • Crossover toe (end stage where second toe lies on top of big toe)



  • Rest and ice

  • Oral pain and anti-inflammatory medications

  • Taping/splinting

  • Stretching

  • Shoe modifications (supportive with stiff soles are best)

  • Orthotic devices

  • Surgery



A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue in the body as a result of compression and irritation. The most common neuroma in the foot is Morton’s neuroma, which occurs between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas can result from wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box, high heels, running, court sports, trauma to the area, and certain foot deformities (bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, more flexible feet). Symptoms begin gradually and often worsen, persisting for days as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

Symptoms of Neuroma:

  • Tingling, burning, or numbness

  • Pain

  • Feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot

  • Feeling that something is in the shoe or a sock is bunched up


  • Padding to lessen pressure on the nerve

  • Icing

  • Orthotic devices

  • Activity modifications

  • Shoe modifications (avoid narrow-toed shoes and high heels)

  • Oral pain and anti-inflammatory medications

  • Injection therapy

  • Surgery (if unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments)

Plantar Warts

Plantar warts are caused by direct contact with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Warts can develop anywhere on the foot, but they typically appear on the bottom (plantar side). Most common in children, adolescents, and the elderly, plantar warts can either be solitary (a single wart) or mosaic (several small warts growing closely together in one area).

Symptoms of Plantar Warts:

  • Thickened skin like a callus

  • Pain when standing or when squeezing sides of wart

  • Tiny black dots (often on surface of wart)



  • Topical or oral treatments

  • Laser therapy

  • Cryotherapy (freezing)

  • Acid treatments

  • Surgery

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