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Why Do Push-Ups Make Me Feel Pressure In My Intermetatarsal Joints: Explained)

Why Do Push-Ups Make Me Feel Pressure In My Intermetatarsal Joints: Explained)

If you’ve ever experienced pressure or discomfort in your intermetatarsal joints while performing push-ups, you’re not alone. This common phenomenon can be attributed to several factors that affect the distribution of weight and stress on your feet during this exercise. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind this sensation and provide some tips on how to alleviate the pressure for a more comfortable push-up experience.

Feeling pressure in intermetatarsal joints in push-ups.

Feeling pressure in your intermetatarsal joints during push-ups may be due to weight distribution, foot positioning, lack of flexibility or strength, or overuse/injury. Modifying foot position and using proper footwear can help. Strengthening exercises and rest are important. Consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

Weight distribution.

Weight distribution refers to how your body weight is distributed or spread out across different parts of your body when you are in a particular position or engaging in an activity.

In the context of push-ups, weight distribution refers to how your body weight is distributed between your hands and feet as you perform the exercise.

During a push-up, your body weight is supported by your hands and feet. The weight is primarily distributed between these two contact points.

Your hands bear a significant portion of the weight, as they are in direct contact with the ground and serve as the primary support for your upper body.

Your feet also play a role in supporting your body weight, although they bear a lesser proportion of the load compared to your hands.

To understand weight distribution, let’s consider an example. Imagine you are in the starting position of a standard push-up: your body is parallel to the ground, your hands are shoulder-width apart, and your feet are close together.


In this position, your body weight is distributed between your hands and feet. The exact proportion of weight distribution may vary depending on factors such as your body composition, muscle strength, and technique.

Your weight shifts forward.

During the push-up movement, as you lower your body towards the ground, your weight shifts forward, and a greater proportion of the load is transferred to your hands.

When you push back up, the weight distribution shifts back to a more balanced position between your hands and feet.

Understanding weight distribution is important because it can affect the load placed on different parts of your body.

In the case of feeling pressure in your intermetatarsal joints during push-ups, it could be due to an imbalance in weight distribution or excessive pressure being placed on the front part of your foot.

Keep in mind that the distribution of weight can vary based on individual factors, such as body mechanics, strength, and flexibility.

It’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation if you have concerns about weight distribution or any discomfort or pain you experience during exercise.

Why Do Push-Ups Make Me Feel Pressure In My Intermetatarsal Joints: Explained)

Foot positioning.

Foot positioning refers to how you place and align your feet in relation to each other and the ground. It plays a crucial role in various activities, including exercises like push-ups.

Proper foot positioning can help maintain stability, balance, and support during movements.

In the context of push-ups, there are a few common foot positioning options:

Standard Position:

In this position, your feet are close together, approximately hip-width apart.

The toes are pointing forward, and the weight is distributed evenly across the entire foot.

This position provides a stable base and is often used in basic push-up variations.

Wide Stance:

In the wide stance position, your feet are placed wider than hip-width apart.

This wider base of support can offer more stability during push-ups, particularly for individuals who are new to the exercise or have limited upper body strength. The toes can be pointed forward or slightly turned out.

Narrow Stance:

In contrast to the wide stance, the narrow stance position involves placing your feet closer together, with the toes almost touching or touching.

This position increases the challenge and places more emphasis on the muscles of the arms, shoulders, and core. It may require greater balance and control compared to the wider stances.

Elevated Feet:

For an advanced variation, you can elevate your feet by placing them on an elevated surface like a bench or step.

This position increases the demand on the upper body and core muscles. It can be an effective way to progress and make push-ups more challenging.

When determining the most suitable foot positioning for push-ups, consider factors such as your comfort, stability, and desired level of difficulty.

Experimenting with different positions can help you find the one that works best for your body mechanics and goals.

It’s important to note that individual variations, such as foot arches, flexibility, and any existing foot conditions, can also influence your foot positioning and comfort during exercises like push-ups.

If you have specific concerns or experience discomfort or pain, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or sports medicine specialist, who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique needs.

Lack of flexibility or strength.

Lack of flexibility or strength refers to a condition where the muscles, ligaments, and tendons involved in a particular movement or activity are not sufficiently flexible or strong to perform the action optimally.

This can impact various aspects of physical performance, including exercises like push-ups.

Lack of flexibility:

When it comes to push-ups, insufficient flexibility in certain muscle groups can limit your range of motion and affect your ability to maintain proper form. Here are a few examples:

    • Tight chest muscles: Limited flexibility in the pectoralis major and minor muscles (located in the chest) can make it difficult to fully extend your arms during the pushing phase of the push-up, leading to compromised form.
    • Restricted shoulder mobility: Poor flexibility in the shoulders can restrict the range of motion and prevent you from achieving the proper position during push-ups. It may result in a decreased ability to lower your body close to the ground or cause excessive strain on other areas such as the wrists.
    • Tight hip flexors: Tight hip flexor muscles, such as the iliopsoas, can affect the alignment of your body during push-ups. If your hip flexors are tight, they may pull your lower back into an arched position, altering the stability and alignment of your body during the exercise.

Lack of strength:

Inadequate muscular strength can also impact your performance during push-ups. Here are a couple of examples:

    • Weak upper body muscles: Insufficient strength in the muscles of your arms, shoulders, and chest can make it challenging to perform multiple repetitions or maintain proper form throughout the exercise. This weakness may limit your ability to control your descent and push back up effectively.
    • Weak core muscles: The core muscles play a crucial role in stabilizing your body during push-ups. If your core muscles, including the abdominal and lower back muscles, are weak, it can compromise your stability and form during the exercise.

To address a lack of flexibility or strength for push-ups, consider the following:

  • Stretching exercises: Incorporate regular stretching routines that target the relevant muscle groups, such as chest stretches, shoulder stretches, and hip flexor stretches. This can help improve flexibility and increase your range of motion.
  • Strength training: Engage in exercises that target the specific muscles involved in push-ups, such as chest presses, shoulder presses, tricep dips, and core strengthening exercises like planks. Gradually increase the resistance and challenge to build strength over time.
  • Proper warm-up: Prior to performing push-ups, engage in a thorough warm-up that includes dynamic stretches and movements to prepare your muscles and joints for the exercise.
  • Gradual progression: Start with modified push-up variations that suit your current level of strength and flexibility, and gradually progress to more challenging variations as you improve.

Remember that everyone’s body is different, and it’s essential to work within your own capabilities and seek guidance from a qualified fitness professional or physical therapist to ensure a safe and effective training program tailored to your needs.

Overuse or injury.

Overuse or injury refers to the strain, damage, or discomfort that can occur when a specific body part, such as the intermetatarsal joints in your case, is subjected to repetitive stress or excessive load without adequate rest and recovery.

This can occur during physical activities like push-ups if the affected area is not given sufficient time to heal and adapt.


Overuse injuries develop gradually over time due to repeated stress or strain on a particular body part. In the case of push-ups, overuse can occur if you perform the exercise too frequently, for extended durations, or without proper form. Examples of overuse injuries related to push-ups may include:

    • Tendinitis: This is the inflammation of a tendon, which connects muscle to bone. Overuse of the intermetatarsal joints during push-ups could potentially lead to tendon inflammation and cause discomfort or pain.
    • Stress fractures: Repeatedly placing excessive stress on the intermetatarsal bones without adequate recovery can lead to tiny cracks called stress fractures. These fractures can cause pain and require rest and proper management to heal.


Injuries can result from sudden trauma or excessive force on a specific body part. While push-ups are generally low-impact exercises, improper form, sudden jerking motions, or performing push-ups beyond your current capabilities can potentially lead to injuries. Some examples of push-up-related injuries may include:

    • Sprains or strains: Abrupt movements or excessive stretching or twisting during push-ups can strain or sprain the ligaments and muscles around the intermetatarsal joints, leading to pain and discomfort.
    • Joint irritation: Push-ups performed with incorrect technique or excessive load can put undue stress on the intermetatarsal joints, leading to joint irritation and potential inflammation.

It’s important to note that overuse or injury can be influenced by various factors, such as individual fitness level, technique, pre-existing conditions, and overall body mechanics. To prevent overuse or injury during push-ups:

  • Maintain proper form: Ensure that you are using the correct technique and body alignment during push-ups to minimize stress on vulnerable areas.
  • Gradual progression: Gradually increase the intensity, duration, and difficulty of your push-up workouts over time to allow your body to adapt and avoid sudden excessive strain.
  • Rest and recovery: Allow sufficient rest days between push-up sessions to give your intermetatarsal joints and associated structures time to recover and heal.
  • Listen to your body: Pay attention to any discomfort, pain, or signs of overuse or injury. If you experience persistent pain or symptoms, it’s important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Remember, the information provided here is general, and it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a qualified fitness trainer for personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.

Here’s a tabular breakdown of the key aspects related to feeling pressure in your intermetatarsal joints during push-ups, including why it happens, how it can be addressed, examples, and important considerations:

Aspect Why How Example Considerations
Weight Distribution Weight distribution affects pressure on intermetatarsal joints Adjust foot and hand placement Placing more weight on hands than feet during push-ups Individual variations may affect weight distribution
Foot Positioning Foot position can impact pressure on intermetatarsal joints Modify foot positioning Wider stance, narrower stance, or elevated feet during push-ups Find the most comfortable and stable foot position for your body
Lack of Flexibility or Strength Insufficient flexibility or strength in relevant muscles and ligaments Stretching and strengthening exercises Tightness in chest, shoulders, or hip flexors affecting push-up form Focus on targeted flexibility and strength training
Overuse or Injury Repetitive stress or previous injuries can lead to pressure on joints Proper rest and gradual progression Tendinitis or joint irritation from excessive push-up volume Listen to your body, take rest days, and seek medical advice if needed

Remember, this table provides a general overview, and individual factors may vary. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances.



In conclusion, feeling pressure in your intermetatarsal joints during push-ups can be influenced by factors such as weight distribution, foot positioning, lack of flexibility or strength, and potential overuse or injury.

Modifying your technique, incorporating strengthening exercises, allowing for proper rest and recovery, and wearing appropriate footwear may help alleviate the pressure.

However, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and evaluation of your specific condition.

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