There are several common conditions that cause pain in the ball of the foot. The links below will help find specific and general treatment options for your ball of foot pain.

We are very successful at treating ball of foot pain conservatively. We can usually avoid surgery with conservative therapy;however, when necessary we have the expertise to surgically treat your condition . If you are experiencing ball of foot pain, contact us today for an appointment to see us in our Seattle office.

Bring one or two pairs of your favorite shoes with you, but don’t buy new shoes prior to your visit. Also bring any orthotics or arch supports you have used.

Video: Best Orthotics for Ball of Foot Pain

Metatarsalgia is a general term for a painful foot condition in the metatarsal area of the foot (just before the toes), commonly referred to as the ball of the foot. This common disorder can affect bones and joints at the ball of the foot and cause pain.

There are a lot of causes of metatarsalgia. Use the links below to learn about the most common causes.



Figure 1: Pain under the ball-of-the-foot.

While capsulitis is the most common type of ball of foot pain, the following conditions also cause ball of foot pain:

  • Capsulitis is the most common cause of pain under the ball of foot. It is simply an inflmmation of the joint at the base of the toes and is usually caused by excessive pressure on this area.
  • Neuroma Neuromas usually cause pain in the forefoot, especially in the area of the 3rd and 4th toes. The pain may be shooting, burning, stabbing, radiating or just an “odd” feeling in the area. Many patients experience relief of symptoms after they remove their shoe and massage the area.
  • Sesamoiditis The sesamoids are small bones under the first metatarsal head and are prone to overuse and inflammation. This condition is called sesamoiditis and treatment is focused on removing force from the area and reducing inflammation.
  • Callus A callus is a thickening of skin, often found under the ball of the foot.  It can cause significant pain – much like having a rock in your shoe.
  • Plantar plate tear
    • This is a tear in the ligaments of the one of the joints of the ball of the foot. It often causes chronic ball of foot pain. You may need an MRI arthrogram to diagnose the condition.

Home Treatment of Ball of Foot Pain

Most of the time you can treat pain under the ball of the foot with simple self-treatments. We have complete guide to self-treatment of ball of foot pain here.

Try these treatments for a couple weeks. If you don’t see improvement, contact us for an appointment. You don’t have to live with ball-of-foot pain. For the most effective and long-lasting treatment, make an appointment to see us in our Seattle office.

2023 Shoe Guide and Recommendations

Shoes recommended by our doctors - subscribe now

for shoe list and weekly foot health newsletter


Thank you! 

Check your email for your shoe guide 

You will also receive our weekly shoe recommendations and foot health newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time.