Metatarsalgia, literally metatarsal pain and colloquially known as 
stone bruise, is a general term used to refer to any painful foot condition
affecting the metatarsal region of the foot.  This is a common problem that
affect the joints and bones of the metatarsals.

Metatarsalgia is most often localized to the first metatarsal
head--the ball of the foot just behind the big toe.  There are two small
sesamoid bones under the first metatarsal head.

The second most frequent site of metatarsal head pain is under the
second metatarsal bone and mideal cuneiform bone behind it, both 
of which result in excess pressure being transmitted into the 
second metatarsal head.

A lot of physically active people suffer from this condition as it can be caused by high impact of the foot which is a product of running, jumping etc. Sometimes, the condition can be caused by badly-fitting footwear, or even an underlying medical condition. 

The severity of the pain can vary and may affect just one or two toes - sometimes the whole foot or even both feet might be affected. Metatarsalgia can worsen when weight is put on the foot, as may be the case when standing, walking, or running. 

Metatarsalgia can affect males and females of all ages, but is most common in middle aged females. 

Although the condition is not considered as serious or life-threatening in any way, the patient may be sidelined by it. Fortunately, symptoms usually respond well to plenty of rest, the application of ice, and some other conservative treatments.

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Signs and Symptoms of Metatarsalgia

A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, drowsiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign. 

Symptoms of pain can range from mild to severe, and usually become more noticeable and unpleasant when the individual stands of moves. Some describe it as a burning sensation, while others complain of shooting pain, tingling or numbness in their toes. "It is like walking on pebbles."

  • A burning pain
  • Sharp aching
  • Pain in the ball of the foot, this is the metatarsal region, which is just behind the toes
  • Pain that can occur near the toes
  • Pain that increases when walking in bare feet, and even more so when walking on a hard surface
  • Pain that worsens when standing or moving around but decreases when the weight is taken off the feet.
  • Shooting pain in the toes
  • Tingling sensation in the toes

These symptoms usually develop slowly, however they may sometimes develop abruptly. Especially if there is an increase in exercise that may put strain on the feet, such as running or jumping.

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