Metatarsalgia is a general term for pain in the region of your foot commonly referred to as the ball. Generally it causes a burning sensation that can be chronic or intermittent, and is caused by various conditions including Morton's neuroma, arthritis, pes planus (flat feet), hallux abducto valgus, excessive pronation, and hammer toes.
Some things that may help prevent metatarsalgia are shoes with good support, a toe box and a low heel . Anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen. Cold compresses are usefull as well to reduce swelling.
-- Information obtained from the American Podiatric Medical Association and government websites