Metatarsalgia is a condition involving pain and inflammation (synovitis), often described as a bruised feeling or a burning sensation, located under the Metatarsal Phalangeal joints (MTPJ). Sometimes this can be described as ‘walking on marbles’ sensation.


It is more common to occur in a foot with a dropped metatarsal arch (transverse arch), hammertoes or with a decreased forefoot fat pad. Calluses or corns of the skin under the MTPJs can occur. Symptoms are worse with prolonged activity on hard surfaces and with heeled shoes.


Non-Surgical Treatment

Most patients get good relief from conservative and non-surgical approaches to treatment of metatarsalgia.

  • Rest. Avoiding movements that exacerbate your pain.
  • Heat and Ice can be applied to reduce pain and swelling. Apply for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, to keep swelling down. Do not apply directly to the skin.
  • Custom Orthotics with metatarsal padding
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain and swelling. Like any over the counter medication, please read and follow the label. If you have a history of stomach ulcers, bleeding ulcers or heart conditions, these medications might not be right for you. Consult your physician if you have any questions.
  • Topical anti-inflammatories
    • Compound Topical Creams
    • Voltaren
  • Injections
    • Steroid (Depo-Medrol, Kenalog, Decadron)
    • Blood (PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma)