8 Causes of Swelling in the Ball of Your Foot


Metatarsalgia (which is also called metatarsal syndrome and stone bruise), is a common foot problem that causes the ball of the foot to become painful and swollen. The ball of your foot absorbs a considerable amount of force when you walk that can adversely affect the metatarsal bones, causing the condition. 

8 possible contributing factors to developing metatarsalgia and the corresponding swelling include the following: 

  1. Poorly fitting shoes—Shoes like high heels that push the toes together can cause pressure on the metatarsal bones and cause metatarsal syndrome.

  2. Obesity—Being severely overweight adds stress on the feet and ankles.

  3. NeuromaIs a growth of fibrous tissue around a nerve that most often occurs between the third and fourth metatarsal bones

  4. Stress fractures—The toe bones are fragile and small breaks or hairline fractures may contribute to swelling in the ball of the foot.

  5. Heredity—Having a high arch or a second toe that is longer than the big toe can shift weight onto the ball of the foot increasing stress and pressure.

  6. Training too hard—Participants in high impact sports such as tennis and basketball are more likely to develop metatarsalgia.

  7. Toe deformities—hammertoes and bunions may adversely affect the metatarsal bones causing swelling and pain.

  8. Arthritis—can contribute to stress and pressure that causes metatarsalgia.

Metatarsalgia can contribute to problems in your knees, hips, and back because you will tend to alter the way your foot lands when you walk to avoid pain and discomfort. This causes misalignment of the spine that radiates upward. 

If you are currently experiencing pain in the ball of your foot, see your foot specialist for the proper care. At Monroe Foot & Ankle Care, Dr. Elliott M. Perel treats a variety of conditions including diabetic foot problems, bunions, nail fungus, arthritis, and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies including shockwave therapy, MLS Laser treatment, and computerized gait analysis, Monroe Foot & Ankle Care provides specialized, high-quality service for patients across central New Jersey. For any problems you may be experiencing with your feet and ankles, contact our Monroe/Jamesburg office at (732) 521-2155.