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How Is Having a Stone Bruise Different from Having Metatarsalgia?

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Having pain in the deep tissues of the ball of the foot is often referred to as having a stone bruise. This condition is called a stone bruise because the pain actually feels like you are stepping on a stone or a pebble each time you stand or walk. However, this type of pain can also occur if you have a condition known as metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia and having a stone bruise may feel similar, but these are some ways the two conditions differ.


A stone bruise can happen if you step down quickly on a small object or a rocky area of the ground. It commonly occurs to those who run, jog, or walk on a regular basis. Even children or adults who participate in sports that involve a lot of jumping are likely to suffer from a stone bruise injury.

Metatarsalgia often feels like a more advanced form of a stone bruise. The symptoms may include a deep, burning, sharp, aching pain in the bottom of the foot that is just behind the toes. The pain usually worsens when you stand, flex your foot, walk, or run. Metatarsalgia is caused by inflammation in the foot that occurs due to high impact physical activity, being overweight, wearing shoes that do not fit properly, and having other foot conditions such as hammertoes or bunions.


Both metatarsalgia and stone bruises can be treated somewhat easily. In most cases for both conditions, getting extra rest, keeping the feet elevated, using ice packs on the painful areas, and taking over the counter medications will relieve the painful symptoms. However, this also depends on what is causing the symptoms to begin with. If either condition begins occurring frequently due to excessive physical activity, it may be necessary for the physical activity to be decreased or changed to something that puts less stress on the feet. 

Duration of the Symptoms

With proper care, stone bruises may go away within a few days to a few weeks. The symptoms of metatarsalgia may last a bit longer. For instance,  if a person has metatarsalgia due to being overweight, it may be necessary to lose a few extra pounds of weight before one notices a substantial decrease in the symptoms. If it is caused due to having hammertoes or bunions, a surgical procedure to correct these conditions may be needed in order to relieve the symptoms of metatarsalgia.

At the first sign of the painful symptoms of either of these conditions, it is the best idea to seek medical advice from a foot pain doctor. Once the proper diagnosis has been made, the condition can be treated so that recovery may begin.