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Orthotics and Forefoot pain: HOW CAN THEY HELP?

Forefoot pain refers to pain the the "ball" of your foot, or around the front 1/3 of your foot.

Forefoot pain can be caused by many factors including:

  • trauma

  • age- related changes

  • pregnancy

  • medication changes

  • general health challenges

  • weight gain

  • shoe fit problems

  • overuse

  • foot position abnormalities

  • sporting/exercise activities

  • changes/pain in the: - toes - mid and rear foot - knees - hips - back

Many people who experience foot pain have a reduced functional ability, increased falls risk and reduced quality of life including mental health challenges (Hawke, F., & Burns, J. 2009).

Forefoot pain is a wide term, often called "metatarsalgia."

There are various pathologies which may be the cause of forefoot pain/metatarsalgia such as (but not limited to):

  • neuroma

  • bursitis

  • capsulitis

  • tendinopathy

  • ligament tear

  • stress fracture

  • thrombophlebitis

  • neuropathy

  • corns/callosities

  • warts

  • arthritis (Osteo, Rheumatoid, Gout)

Often, forefoot pain is a result of a combination of age- related changes in the bone structure and soft tissue strength, which leads to increased stress in the front of the foot and associated pain.

Often, orthotics are warranted for forefoot pain among other treatment modalities.

Orthotics offer two main functions: 1. Offload regions of pressure

2. Alter the biomechanics of the foot to improve function.

Utilising orthotics for forefoot pain can focus on one or both of these means. Podiatrists may assist with correction in the mid or rearfoot to even out the pressure on the forefoot, and utilise offloading padding/forefoot correction to directly influence around the ball of the foot.

Orthotics may be utilised in forefoot pain in conjunction with other therapies and can offer great therapeutic results with a range of cost- effective and individualised options. Your Podiatrist can discuss your individual needs and if your pain warrants a corrective/offloading device.

Over the Counter professional devices, Semi- Custom and fully Custom 3D CAD CAM devices are available, so the best outcome financially and functionally can be achieved for reduction of forefoot pain in a manner which suits each person.

Orthotic therapy for forefoot pain is a comprehensive therapy which may offer long term comfort, where ultimately the aim is to achieve pain- free activities of enjoyment and daily living.

If you have any questions about your forefoot pain: the causes, diagnosis, prognosis and treatments including whether orthotic therapy is right for you, please contact us at, jump on the phone at 8648 7678 or come in store to chat to our friendly staff.


Hawke, F., & Burns, J. (2009). Understanding the nature and mechanism of foot pain. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 2, 1.

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