Fashion dictates women must wear shoes that can cause significant foot pain; shoes that usually include open toes and some sort of a heel. Whether working in retail, banking, or in the corporate world, women’s dress shoes are NOT conducive to comfort. The most common complaint of this population is that of pain in the base of the 2nd toe. In most people, the ball of the 2nd toe (or 2nd metatarsal) sticks out further than the ball of the 1st or 3rd toe. As a result, when pushing off the ball of the toe, more weight is carried under the ball of the 2nd toe than the others, creating the potential for pain and inflammation. Women’s dress shoes contribute to this painful condition for two reasons. Any shoe with the heel elevated higher than the front of the foot places more weight to the front of the foot. The higher the heel, the more weight applied to the balls of the toes. Also, the amount of cushioning below the balls of the toes with these shoes is minimal, at best. In severe cases, a ligament on the bottom of the ball of the toe, called the plantar plate, can tear, causing chronic pain and potential dislocation of the toe.
While it may require some rest and pressure reduction below the ball of your toe for a while, this problem is treatable with a number of treatment options. For starters, wear sturdy, stiff soled athletic shoes whenever possible, apply an ice pack to the top AND bottom of the balls of the toes every 3-4 hours, and take an anti-inflammatory such as Aleve or Advil. If you experience pain below the ball of your second toe, give us a call.