Metatarsalgia is a painful condition affecting the metatarsus, which consists of the metatarsal bones of the foot and can be exposed to overloading and high mechanical stresses, especially during sporting and some work activities. The nerves become trapped and cause inflammation, as in the case of Morton’s neuroma. The presence of calluses on the ball of the foot is also common in patients with metatarsalgia. The use of inappropriate footwear, neurological or osteoarticular factors, diseases such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis and biomechanical, or even morphological, considerations, such as pes cavus, Greek or square foot, can contribute to the onset of metatarsalgia.
The pain can affect one or more toes with its intensity varying according to the activity, especially during physical exertion or after remaining in a standing position for a long period of time. A feeling of burning or tingling in the toes and functional disability.
Specific treatments for the disorders responsible for metatarsalgia (gout, arthritis, etc.), together with ceasing activities that overload the area, are essential to ensure that the orthotic treatment can successfully perform its function. In order to minimise overloading of the metatarsal heads, plantar orthoses featuring a bar or retrocapital support can be used to transfer loads to the metatarsal shafts and, in some cases, feature an internal and external longitudinal arch to distribute loads. These unloading supports, situated in plantar orthoses, can be made from different materials with different shores and have varying dimensions to suit the patient’s weight and activity, and provide the necessary cushioning and support for each case. Metatarsal straps fitted with retrocapital pads compress and restructure the anterior arch of the foot, thus preventing overloading of the central metatarsals.