What is the ball of the foot and what does it do?
The ball of foot is that large padded area on the forefront of your foot. It's main function is to provide help in distributing and handling the weight and pressure of the body on the foot.
What causes the condition?
Ball of foot pain usually occurs when there is an improper weight distribution on the bones behind the toes. This can occur if your toes are crooked, your heel cord is too tight or a genetic foot shape more conducive to the pain. However, the most common cause is walking improperly.
Your foot is designed to roll through the big toe as you take the next step. However, when your big toe has a restricted range of motion, you will naturally adapt to walking incorrectly by not using your big toe while walking. When this happens, more weight will be distributed to the bones behind the smaller toes causing a greater pressure in the smaller bones. These bones were not designed to handle such pressure and weight, which causes that ball of foot pain. Swelling will occur to the joints and the surrounding soft tissues, including the nerves. Then, pain and occasionally, numbness occur.
What can I do?
Active Release Technique (ART)