Metatarsalgia, also known as stone bruise, is a type of pain and inflammation that occurs in the ball of the foot at the metatarsal heads – where the three middle toes meet the foot. Calluses can form under the high pressure area of the metatarsals heads. The calluses may aggravate the problem and, although removing the callus may decrease the pain, the callus is not the cause of the problem. Rather it is the result increased pressure from an underlying prominent bone


The key treatment strategy is to decrease pressure under the metatarsal head by using a metatarsal pad to transfer pressure to the shaft area of the bone that has more flesh covering the bone.

To place the metatarsal pad in the proper location in your shoe:

  1. Carefully palpate the bottom of your foot to find the areas of maximum tenderness. These you will find are usually directly under a hard bone in the ball of your foot.
  2. Mark the tender areas with a small amount of lipstick. (A color that will contrast with the color of the shoes insoles.)
  3. Place your bare foot into the shoe and take 2-3 steps.
  4. Remove your shoe and locate the marks inside.
  5. Remove a small piece of the paper from the sticky surface of the metatarsal pad. Place the pad in the shoe so that the edge of the pad is behind the spot or spots on the insole of the shoe. Try it out. Relocate pad if necessary to achieve maximal pain relief. Then remove remaining paper and stick the pad permanently in the proper location.

Learn more about Metatarsalgia

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