Best Metatarsal Pads
If you’re thinking that the best metatarsal pads would simply take care of your metatarsalgia, you’d be wrong.
Metatarsalgia is an umbrella term for “ball of foot pain”. Pain can occur anywhere under the ball of the foot, from the first to the fifth metatarsal.
Thus, it is important to use the right metatarsal pad for the specific type of “ball of foot pain” that you are experiencing.
In this article, I will rate and review the best metatarsal pads, bars and insoles for the different types of ball of foot pain. From:
- Metatarsalgia (Pain through the entire ball of foot, or multiple metatarsals)
- Sesamoiditis (Pain at the first metatarsal, or specifically the sesamoid bones)
- Capsulitis of the second toe (Pain at the second metatarsal)
If you’re unsure about which orthotic might be right for you, read on to find out more!
Best Metatarsal Pads For Metatarsalgia (Pain Under Entire Ball Of Foot)
5/16" Metatarsal Pads By Hapad
Hapad’s Metatarsal Pads are made of wool. They are the thickest metatarsal pads on this list and will relieve maximum pressure from your forefoot.
The wool makes sure that your feet do not sweat and that your shoes don’t become soggy.
The adhesive on the bottom of these metatarsal pads make it easy to stick to pad to the insole of your shoe. This feature is advantageous as it ensures that the pads don’t move out of place when in use.
The Hapad Metatarsal pads are capable of isolating and offloading pressure from individual metatarsals. So if you experience pain in your second and third metatarsals, you can easily offload excess pressure by placing the pad directly behind them.
Depending on how you place the pads, they can also relieve pressure from multiple metatarsals at a time.
To use these pads correctly, simply place them in line with the area of pain, behind the the metatarsal joint. Make sure you DO NOT place the pad directly over your metatarsals. This is counter intuitive and will only increase pressure in the area and make your condition worse.
Best Insoles For Metatarsalgia
1. Powerstep Pinnacle Plus Full Length Orthotic Shoe Inserts With Built-In Metatarsal Support
Powerstep is one of the top insole manufacturers on the market. They make some of the best insoles for flat feet and metatarsalgia and the Powerstep Pinnacle Plus in no less.
The Powerstep Pinnacle Plus insole is an excellent choice if you have metatarsalgia as well as flat feet, forefoot varus or tend to overpronate in general. This is because their semi-rigid arch support helps offload pressure at the arch of the foot while also providing a decent amount of support.
Add to this the built in metatarsal pad and these are one of the best insoles for metatarsalgia and flat feet.
They also come with an antimicrobial top lining that keeps your feet fresh. And also have a deep heel cradle in order to provide a snug fit.
The dual layer EVA cushioning along with their VCT technology provides targeted and supportive cushioning with a soft and supportive feel. These insoles are also great for those of you who stand on your feet all day.
2. New Balance Insoles IPR3030 Pressure Relief Insole with Met Pad
New Balance’s commitment to quality is exceptional and this carries over to their insoles as well. If you are suffering from metatarsalgia and tend to overpronate, then this is another insole for you.
The New Balance Insoles IPR3030 Pressure Relief Insole doesn’t have an aggressive arch support, so this isn’t the right insole for those with high arches or excessively flat feet. The light arch support is excellent for those who mildly overptonate and have metatarsalgia in the first and second metatarsals.
The metatarsal pad helps offload pressure from these two metatarsals while the arch support offloads further pressure through the arch. These insoles come with a Plastazote top layer which molds to your feet, thus preventing pressure hot spots.
The insoles are also built for maximum cushioning in the heel and forefoot area. So much so, that they may not fit shoes that are cramped for space in the toe-box. Therefore make sure your shoe comes with a removable footbed before buying these insoles.
Best Insoles For Sesamoiditis (Pain Under First Metatarsal - Specifically The Sesamoid Bones)
1. PediFix Pedi-gel Dancer's Pads
This self-adhesive pad metatarsal pad comes with a pre-cut “C” shape to protect the sesamoids.
It sits over the second to fifth metatarsals. While the first metatarsal and the sesamoids are made to overhang from the C-shaped well.
This will help relieve any pressure from the sesamoids while transferring the load onto the other metatarsals.
The PediFix Pedi-gel Dancer’s Pads come with an adhesive coating on one side that sticks to your foot. They are removable and washable and even maintain their adhesive properties after washing as well.
2. Dr. JK Ball Of Foot Cuhsions
The Dr. JK Ball Of Foot Cushions are the best insoles for sesamoiditis. They are NOT good for metatarsalgia or general ball of foot pain. This is because these gel pads are designed for the metatarsals to sit on top of them.
If you have metatarsalgia, you want to offset the load being placed on the metatarsals. Adding cushioning under the balls of the feet is a good idea, but only if the cushioning does not elevate the metatarsals.
Elevated metatarsals will recieve more pressure when walking due to the angle in which they are placed.
However, these cushions are the best for sesamoiditis because they can be cut in such a way that the second to fifth metatarsals are elevated above the first.
This forces the second to fifth metatarsals to bear the load while offloading the first metatarsal and sesamoid bones. In order to use these metatarsal pads for sesamoiditis, place your second toe in the ring provided on the pad. Feel out and mark the outline of your first metatarsal head under the metatarsal pad.
Cut out the outline as shown in the image below. This will offest your sesamoid bones and first metatarsal, thereby relieving pressure and pain.
Best Insoles For Capsulitis Of The Second Toe (Pain In The Second Metatarsal)
Using metatarsal pads for capsulitis of the second toe involves a bit of creativity.
As with other forms of metatarsalgia, you essentially want to offload the affected metatarsal. Which in this case is the second metatarsal head.
In order to do this, you can make a mark on your insole where your second metatarsal lies. Then cut out a hole around where the second metatarsal sits.
This will create a well in which the second metatarsal head can sit, thus allowing the other metatarsals to carry the load instead.
If you’re not keen on cutting holes in the insoles of your shoes, you can use the following metatarsal pads to offload pressure from the second metatarsal.
Pedi-Pads By Aetna
The alternative to cutting holes in your insoles is to buy the Aetna Felt Pedi-Pads. These felt metatarsal pads come with a U-shaped cutout in the middle of the pad.
They are a little over 1/8 inches thick and come with an adhesive back. In order to use these pads for capsulitis of the second toe, simply place the second metatarsal head directly over the U-shaped cutout.
This will allow the second metatarsal head to hang over the U-shape while the first, third, fourth and fifth metatarsals share the load on the foot. Thus offloading the second metatarsal and reducing pain in the area.
Features Of The Best Metatarsal Pads
The best metatarsal pads help redistribute pressure evenly throughout the foot. This is done by:
- Providing additional surface area for the rest of the foot to make contact with the ground. This offers the foot an additional deloading platform where load can be shed.
- Reduction of overpronation. Overpronation causes the foot to become unevenly loaded at the first metatarsal. Overpronation reduction helps realign the foot, thus allowing for proper pressure and weight distribution throughout the entire foot. This helps reduce excessive pressure in the first metatarsal head.
- Adding further padding to the metatarsal heads. One of the main reasons for metatarsalgia is spreading the natural sub-metatarsal fat layer too thin. This layer of fat under the metatarsals helps absorb shock on impact when walking or running. But conventional footwear places the toes in such a way that this layer gets spread too thin. So another feature of a good metatarsal pad is to provide a substitute for the natural fatty padding under the ball of the foot.
Metatarsal Pads Vs. Metatarsal Bars Vs. Insoles For Metatarsalgia: How To Use Them Properly
If you are suffering from ball of foot pain, it is imperative to pin-point exactly where that pain is coming from. Metatarsalgia is the umbrella term for ball of the foot pain.
This means that within the umbrella of metatarsalgia, more specific types of ball of foot pain exist. These types of ball of foot occur in:
- The first metatarsal (Also known as Sesamoidits, but can also be due to Bunions)
- The second metatarsal (Also known as Capsulitis Of The Second Toe)
- Across the entire ball of the foot (This is the most commonly due to overuse and is commonly termed metatarsalgia)
Depending on where you are experiencing the pain, the metatarsal pad should be placed in such a way so as to “offload” pressure from that area.
In order to offload the metatarsals in a particular area; you will need to place the metatarsal pad just behind that metatarsal head. This will ensure that the metatarsal head being targeted is supported and the pressure being place on it is reduced.
Therefore, if you are experiencing pain in your first metatarsal, then make sure to place the metatarsal pad just behind the head of the first metatarsal. If you are experiencing pain in the second metatarsal, place the pad behind the second metatarsal head. And the same continues for the third and the fourth metatarsals respectively.
If you are experiencing pain in 3 or more metatarsals, then it is best to use a metatarsal bar. Because of their wider design, metatarsal bars help dissipate some of the excess pressure being borne on the entire ball of foot area. In order to use a metatarsal bar properly, place it in the center of your foot, right behind your metatarsals.
If you have High arches or flat feet and tend to overpronate, using metatarsalgia insoles will help offload pressure through the arches of your foot. These insoles for high arches and flat feet and metatarsalgia help support the arch of the foot. Insoles also correct biomechanical problems associated with the foot and further offload pressure when used in conjunction with metatarsal pads.
Metatarsalgia comes in different packages. Some experience pain only in the first metatarsal, some only in the second, while some experience pain across the entire ball of the foot.
Finding the best metatarsal pad for the type of metatarsalig that you have is the key to walking pain free.