Metatarsalgia is a poor name for a very frequent condition in runners. This is a name which regrettably gets used a lot but is a pretty useless name and diagnosis. The phrase is much like, by way of example, declaring you have a painful knee. This sore knee could be due to any one of a variety of different things. Metatarsalgia means discomfort in the metatarsals or forefoot, so it can end up being as a result of multiple different disorders. For this reason the word can be so meaningless.
The reason for the pain might be a callus of the skin beneath the ball of the foot; it could be a pinched nerve that triggers sharp type discomfort; it may be a fat pad atrophy that produces issues with standing and walking; or perhaps it might be arthritis type conditions inside the joints in the forefoot. Each of these possible causes of metatarsalgia are usually quite different to each other with various symptoms and diverse reasons that simply functions to underscore precisely what a useless term it is make use of.
Probably the most common reason for discomfort in the forefoot is a problem called a plantar plate tear. This is a sprain of the ligament under the metattarsophalangeal joints in the ball of the foot which might progress to a little tear. The pain sensation is often over the joint on the bottom of the foot and just distal to the metatarsophalangeal joint. Normally it's the 2nd metatarsophalangeal joint, however it can impact all of the metatarsophalangeal joints. This problem is more common in people that run more. The problem begins as a slight ache which is often neglected, however it will progress until there is a treatment solution commenced as it doesn't heal on its own.
Typically the treatments for a plantar plate tear is by using strapping to hold the joint in a plantarflexed or downward posture to avoid it from bending up so the strain is given a rest. A rocker sole footwear or a shoe that is more rigid can also help do that. If this helps, it will tend to take a long time and persistence is required. If this is not going to work, after that a number of plantar plate tears should have a surgical procedure.