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Ball of Foot Pain: Causes and Effective Relief
CBD Topical
Chronic Pain
Pain Management
Sports Injury
Sports Recovery


Ball of Foot Pain: Causes and Effective Relief

Foot pain can be a real nuisance, right? Especially when it's in the ball of your foot, the area right behind your toes. When you're experiencing this kind of discomfort, it can feel difficult to perform daily tasks, from walking around the grocery store to jogging in the park or even just standing for prolonged periods of time.

However, here's the good news: Understanding the causes of this pain, often associated with the term metatarsalgia, can be the first step to finding effective relief.

What Is Metatarsalgia?

The foot is a complex structure made up of numerous bones, ligaments, and muscles, all working together to support your body weight and keep you moving. When something goes wrong in this system, pain can result. One common area where this discomfort can occur is the ball of your foot.

This pain, known as metatarsalgia, is typically caused by excessive pressure on your metatarsal bones — the long bones in your feet that lead up to your toes. The ball of your foot is essentially the padded portion of your foot where the metatarsals hit the ground. So, when you have metatarsalgia, you may be feeling discomfort because of extra pressure or irritation on your metatarsal bones.

What Are Common Causes of Ball of the Foot Pain?

There are numerous factors that can lead to foot discomfort. Let’s take a look at some of the main culprits.


Overuse is one of the most common causes of ball of foot pain. Overuse can stem from long periods of walking or standing, especially on hard surfaces.

It could also be due to specific conditions that put extra pressure on the ball of your foot, like hammertoes or bunions. Even wearing high heels can contribute to this overuse, as they put extra pressure on the front of your foot.

High Impact Sports

High-impact sports, such as running or jumping, can also cause ball of foot pain. These activities put a lot of stress on your feet, and your metatarsal bones take the brunt of this impact, especially if you're not wearing appropriate footwear with adequate cushioning and arch supports.

Improper Footwear

Let's talk shoes — we all love a good pair of stylish shoes, but did you know that your choice of footwear can have a big impact on your foot health?

High heels, for example, can push the body weight forward, putting extra pressure on the ball of your foot and metatarsal heads. And shoes with narrow toe boxes can also squeeze your toes together, causing discomfort and potential deformities like bunions or hammertoes.

This doesn't mean you have to give up on style. The key is finding shoes that provide sufficient cushioning and support. Look for options with wide-toe boxes, good arch supports, and quality insoles. These can significantly reduce the risk of foot pain and keep you comfortable all day long.

Certain Health Conditions

Ball of foot pain can also be a symptom of certain health conditions. Morton's neuroma, for example, is a condition that causes a thickening of the tissue around the nerves leading to your toes, causing pain in the ball of your foot. Hammertoes, where the toe has an abnormal bend in the middle joint, can also lead to similar discomfort.

Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and bursitis may also be risk factors for developing discomfort in the ball of your foot. It's important to keep an eye on these conditions and manage them effectively to prevent further discomfort.

How To Identify Ball of Foot Pain

The symptoms of metatarsalgia can vary but often include a sharp or burning pain under the big toe or second toe. You might also feel like you're standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock.

If you're experiencing these symptoms, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional or a podiatrist. They can examine your foot, discuss your symptoms, and may even use diagnostic tools like X-rays to get a clear picture of what's going on.

In cases of severe pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or NSAIDs like ibuprofen. These can help manage the pain while you're working on addressing the underlying cause. For ongoing or serious conditions, a referral to an orthopedist might be necessary for further evaluation and treatment.

How Can You Manage Ball of Foot Pain?

Foot pain can be a real downer, but don’t worry. There are various treatment options and potential remedies that can ease feelings of discomfort and get you back on your feet.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are a simple and effective way to relieve foot pain. Regular stretching can help loosen tight muscles, improve flexibility, and reduce tension in the ball of your foot.

It's particularly beneficial to stretch before and after exercising to prepare your feet for physical activity and to help them recover afterward. Exercises that target your Achilles tendon and your plantar fascia (the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot) can be particularly helpful.

Take Rest Days

Rest is just as important as exercise when it comes to managing foot pain. Reducing high-impact sports and giving your feet a break can significantly help manage discomfort. Avoid doing the same high-intensity workouts each day.

Instead, switch up the muscles targeted to ensure your feet get the rest they need. Remember, physical activity is great for promoting foot health, but it's also important to give your body time to recover.


Orthotics, including metatarsal pads and shoe inserts, can also provide relief from pain in the ball of your foot. These devices work by redistributing pressure across your foot, taking the strain off of your metatarsal bones. They can be particularly beneficial for individuals with high arches or other foot deformities.

Metatarsal pads, for example, are placed in your shoes just ahead of the metatarsal bone, helping to alleviate pressure and cushion the ball of your foot. Shoe inserts, on the other hand, can provide additional support and cushioning for your entire foot.

Proper Footwear

Another solution to consider is investing in proper footwear. Wearing shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning can make a significant difference in managing and preventing ball of foot pain. Shoes with ample toe box space can prevent the squeezing and pressure that lead to discomfort and potential foot problems.

Particularly, if you're engaged in high-impact sports, shoes designed for those activities can provide the necessary support and cushioning to protect your feet. On the other hand, if your day involves a lot of standing or walking, shoes with good arch support and cushioned insoles can help distribute pressure evenly across your feet, reducing the strain on the ball of your foot.

Try CBD for General Discomfort

CBD has been gaining popularity because of its potential to support overall wellness. It can work with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) to help ease feelings of tension and discomfort. CBD can complement your foot care regimen by helping soothe your feet and support recovery after a long day or an intense workout.

Keep in mind that while CBD can offer supportive benefits, it's best used as part of a comprehensive approach to foot care that includes proper footwear, regular exercise, stretching, and rest. Always make sure to choose high-quality, third-party-tested CBD products for the best results, and make sure to consult your healthcare provider if you think illness or injury may be causing your discomfort.

How To Use CBD for Ball of Foot Discomfort

If you're looking to use CBD for foot discomfort, there are a few things you should keep in mind. CBD topicals can provide fast-acting, localized support. Simply apply the topical directly to the area of discomfort — in this case, the ball of your foot.

By massaging CBD into the area, the soothing cannabinoid can work with our endocannabinoids at cannabinoid receptors beneath the skin and around our muscles to ease feelings of tension.

When dealing with foot discomfort related to overuse or high-impact activities, our Muscle MX CBD balms can be transformative. Use our Recovery CBD Balm before high-impact activities or long shifts on your feet to support your muscle health. After your activity, our Activate CBD Balm with cooling menthol to soothe your feet. This may support muscle recovery as it works with the ECS.

Don't forget about our cannabidiol drops and CBD gummies for muscle relaxation. These can be used daily to support sleep and ease feelings of tension, which can indirectly encourage muscle recovery.

The Bottom Line

Ball of foot pain can be a real pain, but with the right understanding and approach, it's something you can effectively manage. From understanding the causes to exploring options like stretching, rest, orthotics, and CBD, there are many ways to find support.

Remember, preventive measures like wearing the right shoes and regular foot care are just as important. Always don't hesitate to seek professional help if needed. After all, your feet carry you through life — they deserve the best care.

Ready to show your feet some love? Explore Muscle MX's range of all-natural, third-party-tested CBD products. They're designed to support your well-being, performance, and comfort. Let's take the next step towards foot comfort together.


Metatarsalgia - Diagnosis & treatment | Mayo Clinic

Exercises for foot problems | NHS inform

The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious | Harvard Health

Potential Role of Cannabidiol on Sports Recovery: A Narrative Review | PMC

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