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Forefoot Pain- what does it mean and what can be done?

Updated: Mar 10, 2021


Forefoot pain can strike anyone! from kids, to teenagers, elite sportspeople right up to the very elderly.

If you have ever had pain in your forefoot, this article is a very important read.

Pain in the front of the foot can mean many things. There are lots of structures in the front of the foot such as bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, vessels, skin and cartilage.

Due to the busyness of the Forefoot, pain can be very diverse and complicated.

Our most usual musculoskeletal forefoot pain presentations are bunions, inflamed nerves (neuromas), sesamoiditis, ligament strains, fractures and joint pathologies such as synovitis/capsulitis.

It is important to get a full Podiatrist assessment for your pain to discover a diagnosis and treatment pathway to get your back and hitting your goals.

A secret: Podiatrists can refer for bulk- billed foot and ankle x- rays and ultrasounds if required

If pain in the forefoot does not receive treatment, the chance of the pathology worsening is large. This is usually because:

  1. The pain is usually caused by biomechanical errors that require addressing

  2. Shoes are also a major cause of forefoot pain whether they be too narrow/old/rigid/flexible or short for your particular foot.

  3. Other structures often compensate for a damaged area, thus the incidence of additional pathologies occurring is high if the original pain is not treated.

  4. Forefoot pain can sometimes be serious such as a fracture or even skin pathology which may cause a wound. These issues can eventuate to surgery or a moon- boot if not addressed early.

  5. Joint- based pain can be addressed with treatment, however if not managed can cause other joints to deform.

Advice and treatment that we can provide you as Podiatrists may include:

  1. Education on footwear choices

  2. Discussion of exercise and goal setting

  3. A full biomechanical assessment to determine the cause of the pain and contributing factors

  4. Hands- on treatment such as massage, stretching, taping or padding to offload and support the painful structures in the front of your foot. Dry needling therapy is popular for increasing blood flow to the site of damage thus clearance of toxins and by- products of inflammation.

  5. Electrotherapy: laser and ultrasound are inflammatory mediators which can be helpful in reducing pain and regaining function and wellbeing

  6. Orthotic therapy is popular for patients with forefoot pain. Orthotics can be designed to work in multiple ways- offloading of the forefoot or a change in dynamics of the foot which can unload strain. Additionally, successful forefoot padding can be incorporated into an orthotic for extra pressure relief.

A discussion about the results of a patient's individual biomechanics, causative factors and therapy guidelines is discussed and an individualised treatment protocol outlined.

We love to help people with their pain here at Foot Body Sole. Forefoot pain is seen frequently and we pride ourselves on offering comprehensive assessments and treatment plans to get you back to achieving your goals

Take away these 3 tips to keep the front of your feet healthy
1. Wear shoes which are wide enough and not compressing on the sides of your feet.
2. Ensure that you seek help for any pain early- this usually means fewer treatments and a quicker remedy.
3. Change shoes or exercise slowly. Often overload from different footwear or "too much, too soon" exercise can cause forefoot pain

We have a comprehensive knowledge of lower limb pathologies, particularly forefoot pain here at Foot Body Sole. We can help you navigate the confusing world that is the front of your foot and provide clarity into the "what", "when", "how" and "why" of front- of- foot injury.

I you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on 1800 778 316 or through

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