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Metatarsalgia, also known as a stone bruise, is a painful inflammation that forms on the ball of the foot – the metatarsal. This condition can vary in severity and sometime can affect multiple metatarsals. Metatarsalgia is common among athletes who engage in sports that require running and jumping.

In the foot, five metatarsal bones extend from the arch of the foot to joints of the toe. During the push-off phase when walking, jumping or running, the weight of the body is transferred to the toes and joints of the foot. The first and second metatarsal bones absorb the majority of this force.

Metatarsal conditions arise when something changes the normal mechanics of the foot and affects the distribution of weight. This can put excess pressure on the metatarsals, leading to inflammation and pain.

Signs and symptoms of Metatarsalgia may include:

  • Sharp pain in the ball of the foot
  • Persistent aching in the ball of the foot
  • Pain or burning in the second, third or fourth toes
  • Numbness or tingling in the toes
  • Pain that increases when flexing the feet
  • Pain that increases when walking on hard surfaces