Just standing flat footed and lifting my toes I get a sharp pain shooting from the ball through the underside of my toe and my hiking has ceased. What could the problem be?
Submitted by - Dennis - Red Bluff, CA
My first recommendation, and it's a strong one, is have a local doc take a look. You should not be hurting like that.
But we can explore some potential causes: Did the pain on suddenly? Could be a fracture or an object embedded in your foot (if you spend much time barefoot). Did the pain come on slowly? Could be metatarsalgia (a wearing down of the fat pad under the 'balls' of each toe) or a Morton's neuroma or another neuroma from when a nerve gets irritated or pinched.
If it's broken, it needs to heal. Otherwise stiff-soled boots with cushioned inserts will provide support (and less motion in the forefoot area) and padding, and those things might help relieve at least some of the pain and give you a boost toward recovery. Ibuprofen might help too.