Forefoot problems and metatarsalgia


Forefoot pain and metatarsalgia

Pain at the forefoot (or front of the foot) can be caused be due to a number of different issues and conditions. A few of these conditions will be described below such as:

  • Metatarsalgia
  • Morton's neuroma
  • Hallux valgus (bunions)
  • Hallux Limitus and Rigidus (1st toe joint pain/problems)
  • Corns and callosity


Metatarsalgia is a general term for pain at the forefoot generally underneath the foot in the area of the joints of the toes. It can be across all joints or on one single area of the forefoot. The pain is worsened when either in barefoot or in shoes with a slight heel, due to the lack of cushioning in appropriate shoes. In basic terms, metatarsalgia is caused by excessive point loading of an area, often due to an alignment or biomechanical issues. For more info on how to diagnose and treat metatarsalgia click here

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Morton's neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a more specific problem to metatarsalgia and involves pain and numbness in the areas between the 2nd-3rd or 3rd-4th toes.

The cause of a Morton's neuroma is related to nerve impingement which leads to pain and numbness in this area. For more information around how to diagnose and treat Morton's neuroma click here

Hallux valgus (bunions)

Hallux valgus is the term given to what is most commonly known as bunions. In this condition the big toe joint is often inflamed and painful. The big toe is deviated to varying degrees towards the 2nd toe with the 1st MTP joint more pronounced. There are a number of reasons for hallux valgus such as over pronation and biomechanical issues.

Footwear can also become problematic as wider footwear is needed to accomodate the "bunion".

Gor more information on how to diagnose manage and treat hallux valgus or bunions click here.

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Hallux limitus and Hallux rigidus (also 1st toe arthriitis)

Hallux limitus is where there are issues with the motion of the 1st toe and it is reduced impacting on it's ability to move upwards (dorsiflex) when walking. The big toe has an extremely important function in walking to aid in stability and propulsion when pushing off from one foot to the next.

When the foot cannot do this either due to arthriitis or  poor foot biomechanics compensatory movements take place. This is likely to cause secondary issues such as (click on these links to get more detail on each issue)

For more in depth information and how to diagnose and treat Hallux limitus and Hallux rigidus click here