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Metatarsalgia

MEDICATION

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, are useful; however, they rarely provide a long-term solution.

FOLLOW-UP

Return to Play

Returning to play for most injured athletes exposes them to the same traumatic conditions that resulted in the original injury. Therefore, the individual must be completely healed, free of symptoms, and prepared for resuming the stress and trauma inherent to his or her sport. Proper selection of running and training shoes is critically important to prevent re-injury.

Prevention

Preventing re-injury means eliminating abnormal friction or pressure. Orthotics, metatarsal pads, and callus care can be used to prevent muscular and stress imbalances. Callus care includes razor debridement and buffing, which enhance tissue elasticity.

Some foot problems may not be caused by disease but by improper footwear. Proper positioning of the foot within the shoe depends upon appropriate fitting, as no two feet are the same. Athletes who perform on hard surfaces should make certain that new shoes have adequate cushioning. Rubber heels and soles that absorb shock better than other materials are helpful for athletes who perform repetitive running and jumping on hard surfaces.

Prognosis

Prognosis generally is good, with the treatment described in the Treatment section.

Education

Athletes who suddenly and dramatically increase training activity are at risk of forefoot injury. Whether the increase is in time or intensity, athletes should increase their levels of activity gradually and never exercise through the pain.

Long-distance runners, women, and athletes who diet to qualify for certain weight divisions may experience bone loss from nutritional deficiencies, predisposing them to foot injury. A well-rounded diet is necessary for healthy tissues.

The selection of footwear and orthotic devices is an important part of foot care and injury prevention. Warm-up and passive stretching increase vascular supply and flexibility.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Medscape

Reviewed by David Kiefer, MD on January 03, 2014

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