Pain in the Ball of the Feet

Help in Halesowen and Stourbridge with Pain in the Ball of the Feet

PLANTAR FAT PAD ATROPHY is a common cause of pain in the BALL OF THE FOOT, due to thinning of the protective fatty cushion located under the heads of the metatarsal bones (the main bones of the foot).

When we walk, we propel ourselves forward through our toes and ball of the foot and at this point our body weight is transferred onto the small metatarsal heads, which are usually well cushioned and protected by this area of fat.  As this pad absorbs the shock instantly, giving the correct amount of cushioning, pain is not normally felt. Reduction of this fat pad can lead to pain, discomfort, ulcers and callus formation.


  • Ageing – The supporting adipose (fatty) tissue is reduced. Genetics can play a role in this.
  • Metatarsal Head displacement – A displacement of the head of the metatarsal bone can put pressure on the fatty tissue underneath.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – This can lead to displacement of the fat pad.
  • High Arches – Leading to a shortening of the toes and displacement of the fat pad.
  • Diabetic Patients – If there is neuropathy present with toe deformity, displacement of the fat pad can occur.
  • Neuroma Treatment – After surgery, damage to the fat pad can arise, together with fat pad atrophy resulting from steriod injections.
  • General Surgery or Fracture – Resulting in a change in the gait.
  • High Heels/Thin Soled Shoes Or barefoot walking may initiate or worsen the condition.


  • Pain, soreness and tenderness in the area.
  • Walking without shoes very uncomfortable.
  • Callus (hard skin) formation or ultimately ulcers
  • The metatarsal bones appear prominent.

TREATMENT for Ball of The Foot Pain

  1. Wear soft supportive insoles and good quality shoes which offer support and cushioning, avoiding thin soled footwear.
  2. Avoid excessive pressure during every day activities.
  3. Avoid high heels.
  4. Avoid walking barefoot.
  5. Keep your weight within the recommended guidelines to avoid unnecessary load.
  6. Avoid sports/activities which put added pressure on the ball of the foot.

It is always advisable to seek the help of a professional Foot Health Practitioner, Podiatrist or Chiropodist to assess the course of action which best suits your needs.

For further help and advice call Suzanne on 07738 521042.