At-Home Tactics to Relieve Ball of Foot Pain

With all the biggest stars in tennis coming to Indian Wells this week for the start of the BNP Paribas open, hopefully you’re inspired to get out and play a few sets yourself! Sure, maybe you’ll never crack a serve quite like Serena or glide around the court as gracefully as Federer, but tennis is still a sport that can be enjoyed at almost any age or skill level, and is a great way to stay active and fit.

Of course, if you’re one of the many out there who struggle with pain in the balls of your feet—also known as metatarsalgia—vigorous activity like tennis can really cripple you, causing a dramatic spike in forefoot pain. Fortunately, most cases of metatarsalgia can be resolved through conservative care at home. Some of the best strategies include:

  • RICE Therapy. Often your soles just need a bit of a rest so they can heal. Give them a break from the court for a couple of weeks, and use ice (no more than 20 minutes at a time, 2-3 times per day), compression, and elevation when necessary to minimize swelling and pain and aid the healing process.
  • Check Your Shoes. Are your athletic shoes worn out and not fitting properly? Are you spending a lot of time in high heels or flip flops? Poor footwear choices can greatly contribute to foot pain, including metatarsalgia. Switching to more sensible styles can provide a major benefit.
  • Try Some Insert Supports. Although custom orthotics (which we can prescribe) often yield the best results, you may find that over-the-counter arch supports, metatarsal pads, or shock-absorbing cushioned insoles may bring a substantial improvement in your ability to walk and play without pain.
  • Do sSme Stretches. Forefoot pain can often be connected to tightness in your Achilles tendon or other areas. Regular stretching and exercise for feet and ankles can often lessen discomfort.

While self-care methods can help or even resolve your problems, the most important thing to remember is not to stubbornly push through the pain when home remedies aren’t working—doing so can make the problem much worse. With treatments including laser therapy, physical therapy, orthotics, injections, and more, Dr. Danciger has the training and tools to help you get back on your feet, on the court, and living your life without being hobbled by foot pain. To schedule an appointment, please use our online contact form or give us a call at 760-568-0108.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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