Metatarsalgia is a widely used word that does not mean much. The metatarsals include the long bones behind the toes in the foot and the suffix -algia implies pain, so metatarsalgia just means pain in the metatarsals region. That is certainly somewhat useless as a diagnosis on the grounds that the pain may be as a result of, practically, 100’s of different things. To use the phrase metatarsalgia is like using the term ‘sore knee’. It isn't a diagnosis and is just a non-specific word for pain in the ball of the foot. This will be relevant as getting the diagnosis correct is really important and the initial step in getting the treatment right. There's no treatment for metatarsalgia. There's treatment with regard to the various conditions which cause pain around the metatarsals.
By far the most common reason for pain in this region is a condition termed as a plantar plate tear. The plantar plate is a robust ligament underneath the joints in the ball of the foot that give stability to the joint and guard it. If there is too high a level of activity and the toes get retracted or dorsiflexed too much, then that ligament will get strained producing is what is referred to as plantar plate dysfunction. In the event that stress carries on then a tiny tear could happen in the ligament. Another explanation for symptoms is this area can be what is known as sesamoiditis that is some soreness of the tissues all around the small sesamoid bones on the bottom of the big toe. This is usually due to an excessive amount of force on those bones, inducing the irritation. Merely from these two illustrations it ought to be apparent that they are two completely different problems that might get lumped under that useless phrase, metatarsalgia. The treatment for these two conditions are completely different, so it ought to be obvious why that phrase should no longer be used.