Metatarsalgia is a popular term which doesn't mean a lot. The metatarsals include the long bones behind the toes in the foot and the suffix -algia means pain, so metatarsalgia simply means pain in the metatarsals area. That's pretty meaningless as a diagnosis for the reason that pain may be due to, literally, 100’s of different things. To use the term metatarsalgia is like using the phrase ‘sore knee’. It is not a diagnosis and is simply a non-specific term for symptoms in the ball of the foot. This is important as getting the diagnosis correct is absolutely significant and the initial step to get the treatment correct. There is no treatment for metatarsalgia. There's treatment with regard to the various conditions that cause pain in the region of the metatarsals.

One of the most common cause of symptoms in this region is a condition termed as a plantar plate tear. The plantar plate is a strong ligament underneath the joints in the ball of the foot that give firmness to the joint and secure it. When there is too much a amount of exercise and the toes get pulled back or dorsiflexed too much, then that ligament could get stretched producing is what is referred to as plantar plate dysfunction. If that strain continues then a little tear could happen in the ligament. Another explanation for pain is this location can be what is called sesamoiditis that is some soreness of the tissues around the small sesamoid bones on the bottom of the big toe. This is usually because of too much weight on those sesamoid bones, inducing the inflammation. Merely from these two causes of metatarsalgia it ought to be obvious that they are two completely different conditions that gets lumped under that meaningless name, metatarsalgia. The treatment for these two problems are completely different, so it should be no surprise that that phrase should no longer be made use of.