How to relieve pain in the ball of the foot will mostly be determined by what causes it. There are many different causes and each one will have a different set of treatment options, so giving blanket advice as to what you can do to relieve it is not going to work. “Metatarsalgia” is the name that is often given to mean pain in the forefoot or ball of foot. Metatarsalgia is not a diagnosis.
A common cause of pain in the ball of the foot is simply an “ache” from being on the feet all day, perhaps at work on hard floors. The best way to initially try and relieve that is to get some cushioning into the shoes.
A pinched nerve (Morton’s neuroma) can cause shooting pains in the ball of the foot. The best way to initially relieve that is to use metatarsal pads and wider shoes.
A callus under the ball of the foot can cause pain. This will often need debridement by a podiatrist and using pads on the insole in a shoe or foot orthotics.
There could be a stress fracture in one of the bones from overuse. This is often managed by limiting or modifying activity levels.
A plantar plate tear can also cause pain under the ball of the foot. This generally needs strapping to plantarflex the toe or a Fix Toe type device. Metatarsal pads can also help that by relieving pressure on the painful area.
Freiberg’s disease can also cause pain in the joints in the ball of the foot. It is generally initially treated by relieving pressure on the area.
What is most important to relieve pain in the ball of the foot is too get the diagnosis right first. As can be seen from the above more common conditions is that they are all quite different with a different approach needed to treatment. As always, please see a podiatrist if things are not improving.