Metatarsalgia, also known as stone bruise, is a type of pain and inflammation that occurs in a part of the foot known as the metatarsal (ball of foot). It often occurs in the metatarsal heads - where the three middle toes meet the ball of the foot.
It is a common problem which can affect the bones and joints of the metatarsals. Most commonly, the first metatarsal head is affected - the ball of the foot just behind the big toe. 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. Causes: In the foot there are small toe nerves between the metatarsal bones. When the head of one metatarsal bone is pressed against another, the small nerve is caught between them and starts to become inflamed, thus causing metatarsalgia.
The condition can worsen as weight is put on the foot, because with each step the metatarsal bones rub together more and more, which causes the inflammation of the nerve to increase. There are many things that can cause metatarsalgia, such as particular medical conditions; however, the pain can be brought on by anything that puts too much stress on the ball of the foot.