15 Natural Treatments for Metatarsalgia

ball of foot pain

This condition causes pain in the ball of your foot. This pain can range from mild to severe. Many people develop metatarsalgia when they participate in activities that involve jumping and running. Shoes that are too tight or too loose and foot deformities could also lead to metatarsalgia. This is not a serious condition, but it can sideline you. There are many home remedies that can give you relief from the symptoms of metatarsalgia.

Some of the most common symptoms of metatarsalgia are sharp or shooting pain; sharp, aching, or burning pain; a feeling of having a pebble in your shoe; pain that worsens when you run, stand, flex your feet or walk and improves when you rest. If your pain lasts more than a few days, then you need to talk with your doctor as soon as possible.

There are some cases when a single factor could lead to metatarsalgia, but in most cases, several factors are involved in this condition, such as excess weight; foot deformities; certain foot shapes; intense training or activity; poorly fitting shoes; Morton’s neuroma and stress fractures.

There are some factors that can increase your risk of metatarsalgia, such as you are obese or overweight; having gout or rheumatoid arthritis; you have foot problems, such as calluses and hammertoe; you wear high heels or shoes which do not fit properly; you participating in sports which involve jumping and running.

Talk with your doctor if you suffer from metatarsalgia before you start using some of the below-mentioned home remedies for this condition.

metatarsal pads

Identify the cause of Metatarsalgia

The first thing you should do is to identify the cause of metatarsalgia. If the cause for metatarsalgia is incorrect footwear, you need to stop wearing your shoes because your condition can worsen. You should try to wear comfortable and flat-heeled shoes. You should give your foot some rest because this can diminish the pain and reduce the discomfort. [1]

16 home remedies for metatarsalgia

Properly fitted shoes

Some of the best options to eliminate metatarsalgia are to wear properly fitted shoes, such as properly fitted shoes with complete arch support, shock–absorbing insoles, and metatarsal pads. Those shoes which fit properly align the feet and prevent stress on any pressure points. [1]


You should protect your foot from further injury by not stressing it. You should elevate your foot after walking or standing. Also, you should avoid your favorite sport for a while but you can do low–impact exercises, such as cycling or swimming.

Essential oils used in Metatarsalgia

Doctors are recommending essential oils in many cases for the usage of topical applications because they act as a counter-irritant to decrease pain. You can use peppermint, camphor, and eucalyptus essential oils if you suffer from metatarsalgia.

Strengthen your foot and ankle complex

It is known that weakness in the foot and ankle muscles can lead to excessive strain on the tissues on the bottom of your foot, including the plantar fascia. Doctors are recommended to do the ankle/foot strengthening protocol. You should use an elastic exercise band for this type of exercise. You should start with your feet in a neutral position.

Also, you can use the elastic band as a way to stretch your foot up toward you. While sitting, you should use the elastic band attached to your foot and press your foot downward and upward. You should return to the starting position slowly and under control. You should perform two sets of ten to fifteen repetitions on both feet one to two times per day. You can rest your foot on a chair or stool. In the second exercise, you should also start with your foot in a neutral position.

While sitting, you need to use the elastic band attached to your foot and draw your foot upward. You should do 2 sets of ten to fifteen repetitions and do it once or twice a day. You should rest your foot on a stool or chair or with your heel resting on the ground. In the third exercise, you should start with your foot in a neutral position. While you are sitting, you should use the elastic band attached to your foot to draw your foot inward.

You should perform 2 sets of ten to fifteen repetitions and do it on both feet one or two times a day. Rest your foot on a chair or stool, or rest it with your heel resting on the ground. In the last exercise, you should start the same as in the previous exercises, with a foot in a neutral position. While you are seated, you should use the elastic band that is attached to the foot to draw out your foot outward to the side. You should do two sets with ten to fifteen repetitions per day on both feet. Take a rest on the chair or stool or with your heel resting on the floor.

Botanical medicine

Doctors recommend topical application of some herbs, such as borage, castor oil, chamomile, yarrow, comfrey, and arnica, because they can help alleviate pain and blood circulation. [2]

Work toward achieving a healthy weight

It is known that obesity is one of the most common causes of many different conditions, and foot pain is also included. You need to talk with your doctor or nutritionist about a healthy way to reduce your weight.

Acupuncture help in Metatarsalgia

This is a very effective technique for managing most types of pains; especially it is effective for soft tissue pains. This treatment will involve the usage of local points on your foot as well as complimentary points which are more specific to your symptoms. [3]


It is recommended to use hot and cold applications because this can help improve the circulation to the foot, which can decrease the pain and aid in healing. This natural treatment can be done by alternating ice and heat packs or hot and cold water. [4]


It is known that some compressions can help you to decrease bruising, pain, and inflammation. The sports tapes can be enough, but also there are other specially designed medical devices that can be helpful. The most important step after the injury has happened the compression.

Wear socks

When you are wearing shoes, you need to wear socks because this can help reduce friction. You should carefully remove any calluses.

Improve your balance

It is known that poor balance is often associated with muscle weakness in the foot and ankle as well as weakness in the hip, musculature, and knee. The weakness and the balance deficits could lead to poor feet mechanics, which can lead to metatarsalgia.

When you improve your balance, it can help you reduce the risk of metatarsalgia, and at the same time, it is a very important part of the rehabilitation process. Doctors recommend starting with water noodle exercises, and when your pail improves, then doctors are recommending performing balance exercises without shoes on. You need to talk with your doctor about the best exercises which can help you to improve your balance.


You can massage the affected area to get relief from swelling pressure. This natural treatment can reduce your pain and increase local circulation. [5]

Apply ice

You should apply ice if there is acute swelling and redness in the ball of your foot. Ice will numb the pain, and it will help to bring down the swelling. There are some cases when the pain becomes very intense, such as when you remove the high–heeled shoe. In these cases, it is very important to wear flat-heeled shoes or to walk barefoot because this can help to alleviate the pain to some extent.


You should use pillows to position your foot above the level of your heart to help reduce the swelling. Also, at this time, you can apply ice.

Add a metatarsal pad

You can use metatarsal pads because they can give you relief from the pain, particularly in the early phases of treatment. There are some people who do not have much padding over the metatarsal area, and this is true as you get older. Also, you should use shoes with an adequate cushion around the ball of your foot because this will make all the difference. You need to talk with your doctor to find the right shoes for you.


In many cases, this condition happens as a change in the way the foot mechanically functions is changed. You should stretch your ankles and feet as well as your hips and legs because this can help maintain the alignment in the body and prevent disproportionate weight distribution. Also, it can help to maintain the function of the body, and it will prevent strain. [5]


[1] Buldt AK, Menz H. Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: A systematic search and narrative review of the literature. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2018;11(1).

[2] Cameron M, Chrubasik S. Topical herbal therapies for treating osteoarthritis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.  2013;5:CD010538.

[3] Stellon AJ. Metatarsalgia: treatment by acupuncture. Acupuncture in Medicine. 1997;15(1):17-18.

[4] Antunes JM, Daher DV, Giaretta VMA, et al. Hydrotherapy and crenotherapy in the treatment of pain: integrative review. BrJP. 2019;2(2).

[5] Jeong HM, Shim JH, Suh HR. The passive stretching, massage, and muscle energy technique effects on range of motion, strength, and pressure pain threshold in musculoskeletal neck pain of young adults. Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Science. 2017;6:196-201.


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