Metatarsalgia is a foot condition characterized by pain in the area of the ball of the foot, usually where the second toe and foot join together. Repetitive motion and force in the area are common causes of metatarsalgia. Factors that lead to extra force on that area of the foot include tight calf muscles, wearing high-heeled shoes and being overweight. Performing some gentle exercises may help you find relief.
Stretching the Calf
Stretching out your calf muscles may help you alleviate some of the discomfort of metatarsalgia. Stand at arm's length facing a wall and lean in, stepping one foot in front of the other and placing your hands on the wall. Keep your back heel on the floor and your knee straight and feel the stretch in your calf muscle. Hold the stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, two times per day.
Achilles Tendon Stretch
A flexible and loose Achilles tendon plays a role in preventing metatarsalgia. Stand on a curb or stair with your heels hanging off the edge. Slowly lower your heels and hold your position for a few seconds while your Achilles tendon stretches. Rise onto your toes to flex your calf and hold that for a few seconds. Do three sets of 12 each day.
Your ankles can become stiff with everyday movement or athletics. Sit in a chair, cross your bad foot over your knee and grab the ankle with your hand on the same side. Hold your toes with the opposite hand and pull them toward you until you can feel quite a lot of pain, advises Sports Injury Bulletin. Hold for five to 10 seconds, then relax for 10. Do three sets of eight reps each day.
Sit as you did in the ankle extension, with your foot crossed over your other leg. Grab your ankle with the opposite hand this time, and your toes with the same side hand. Pull your toes in toward your lower leg until you feel some pain. Ease off just a little and hold for five to 10 seconds.
The toe pull exercise will feel and look unusual at first, but you may find some relief. Stand barefoot with your feet around hips-width apart. Curl the toes of one foot, then the other as if you are trying to grab something with them. Attempt to pull yourself along the floor between 3 to 6 feet with your toes. Try doing 25 reps per foot, working up to 75, three times a day.