Inter-metatarsal Bursitis

What is it?

foot Pain treatmentIntermetatarsal bursa are small fluid filled sacs that are located between the interossei muscles and metatarsal bones of the foot. Their main role is to act as a lubricant while the small muscles glide over the bone during movement. Due to the high work load of the foot, inter-metatarsal Bursa can occasionally become inflamed, hence the term; Intermetatarsal Bursitis. Common symptoms include; Pain while standing on toes, fore-foot (ball of foot) tenderness during rest and motion, as well as visible fore-foot swelling, burning sensations.

Why did I get it?

Inter-metatarsal Bursitis can be caused by many factors & is most commonly seen in the active middle aged population (women > men). Most patients with the condition can often present with many of the following risk factors;

  • High-arched feet
  • Collapsed transverse arch
  • Poor/tight footwear/high heels
  • Poor alignment of biomechanics
  • Diminished cushioning of the feet.
  • Feet that roll in

How is it diagnosed?

A thorough history and clinical examination will generally be sufficient for the diagnosis of Inter-metatarsal Bursitis. You will more than likely be referred for an ultrasound for confirmation/ to rule out further pathology.

Possible treatments:

  • Rest & Ice
  • Padding/strapping
  • Custom Orthotics
  • Footwear advice
  • Biomechanical correction
  • Foot Mobilisation


Providing patient compliance, the majority of patients respond well to conservative treatment options. Corticosteroid injections are often used as the last resort for non-responsive cases, however can produce successful outcomes.

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