Metatarsal pads are a simple item that can have tremendously positive effects on your well-being. Many people go throughout their daily life suffering from sore feet. A common cause of this problem is Metatarsalgia.
If you suffer from this ailment, it’s good to know that you are not alone in seeking Metatarsalgia treatment. Before you know how to cope with this nagging discomfort, such as using gel pads or orthotic inserts, you must first know more about the causes and symptoms.
Best Metatarsal Pads: Our Top Picks
1. ZenToes Metatarsal Pads
⭐ Best Overall
2. Comfort Insole for Pain Relief and Comfort
⭐ Best for High Heels
3. Gel Sleeves Forefoot Cushion Pads
⭐ Best for Women
4. Copper Compression Metatarsal Pads
⭐ Best with Infused Copper
5. Dr. Frederick’s Original Metatarsal Pads
⭐ Best for Walking
6. Ball of Foot Cushions for Women and Men
⭐ Best for Blister Prvention
7. Brison Health Metatarsal Pads of Foot Cushions
⭐ Best for Boots
Recap: The Best Metatarsal Pads
- Best Overall: ZenToes Metatarsal Pads
- Best for High Heels: Comfort Insole for Pain Relief and Comfort
- Best for Women: Gel Sleeves Forefoot Cushion Pads
- Best with Infused Copper: Copper Compression Metatarsal Pads
- Best for Walking: Dr. Frederick’s Original Metatarsal Pads
- Best for Blister Prevention: Ball of Foot Cushions for Women and Men
- Best for Boots: Brison Health Metatarsal Pads of Foot Cushions
Signs That You May Need Metatarsal Support
Metatarsalgia is a pain in the ball of the foot. The region of the foot where the pain occurs is known as the metatarsal region. Metatarsal pain can range from mild pain to one that is so severe that it hurts to stand or move. The pain is often a dull ache but can also be characterized by burning or tingling, and shooting pains in the toes.
The precise area where the pain is the worst is where the second to fourth toes meet the ball of the feet. Trying to walk will often feel like you are walking with a pebble in your shoe or walking over suitably rough ground.
Gel Pads for Metatarsal Pain
Gel pads are an excellent way to add some comfort and support for feet with a number of medical and pain management issues. Many podiatrists and assorted doctors will recommend that you put gel pads or similar orthotic inserts in your shoes if you plan on standing for prolonged periods of time. They have proven benefits including treating existing foot and ankle problems, as well as preventing new ones from cropping up, and they are used by everyone from waitresses to professional athletes.
Conditions Improved by Using Gel Pads
Gel pads have proven to be useful in treating similar foot disorders, including bursitis in the heel area. Swelling associated with bursitis may make it difficult to fit the foot into a standard shoe. If you are suffering from this ailment, consider buying a specially designed medical shoe that will give you some breathing room.
These shoes can also be fitted with inserts, which can provide support and further ease the pain associated with bursitis. Blisters and plantar warts may also spring up from time to time, and incapacitate people who depend on standing to make a living. Some padded inserts can be bought with specially designed bandages incorporated, which will soak the area in a medicated and cushioned support system.
This can aid the healing process, and ensure that these wounds don’t become infected. It is especially important to block the wound from coming into contact with sweat or liquids that can contain bacteria. These pads and other inserts can fill in that role nicely.
Pad Placement for Metatarsalgia Treatment
Metatarsal Pads are a quick, convenient and economical option for Metatarsalgia treatment. Foam, felt and gel pads are available variations, but they all serve the same purpose.
The purpose of metatarsal pads is to increase the surface area on the underside of the user’s foot (or both feet, if need be) on which he or she bears the full weight of his/her body. This serves to decrease the strain on the area of the foot that normally bears this load and has been causing the metatarsal pain (specifically at the metatarsal heads that join in the area commonly known as the ”balls of the feet”).
Please note that the below instructions serve ONLY as guides for the placement of the pads as a Metatarsalgia treatment – each user should take care to identify the most comfortable positioning for him/her, as every foot has a shape and weight-bearing are unique to it, and Metatarsalgia treatment varies from person to person.
Options for Using Pads as a Metatarsalgia Treatment
There are three basic ways in which to use pads for Metatarsalgia treatment, and this is true for the foam, felt, and gel pads.
Directly on the skin, just below the balls of the feet
The pad must be juxtaposed to the weight-bearing surface when used as a Metatarsalgia treatment. One way of finding the right position is to step onto the pad prior to peeling away the adhesive backing, placing the pad right below the balls of the feet, and testing out different placements until you find the one that’s right for you.
Another way is to place the pad 2/3s of the way from your heel to your metatarsal arch – the front end of the pad, therefore, reaching just under the ball of the foot. Please note that pads placed directly on the foot last approximately two to three days and are OK to wear in the shower.
Inside the user’s shoe, under the insole:
For use in shoes where the insole can be removed, affixing the pad to its underside will prolong the life of the pad from a few days to a couple of weeks or even months. The pad still needs to be placed right next to the balls of the feet.
As mentioned earlier, prior to removing the adhesive backing, you should try putting the pad in a few different positions, after identifying the area on your insole that corresponds to the ball of your foot, and testing it out until you find the position that is most comfortable for you.
To identify the area on the underside of the insole that corresponds to the ball of your foot, you can trace in light pencil the area where it touches on the upside of the insole, and follow that line to the underside.
Inside the user’s shoe, over the insole:
Identify the area on the insole that corresponds to the weight-bearing area or the area where you are feeling the metatarsal pain and trace a line in pencil if you need to. Place the pad directly behind it (towards the heel), and test it in different positions until you find the one that suits you best.
Remove the adhesive padding, place it on the insole, and your Metatarsalgia treatment will be ready to go.
If using pads or inserts to manage your foot pain, no matter which option you decide to use, take time in the placement of the pads. Correct placement can produce relief of your symptoms. Incorrect placement can enhance your symptoms. Always seek the guidance of a medical professional before proceeding with any health-related issue including Metatarsalgia treatment.
Alternatives to Metatarsal Pads
If your sore feet are caused by the nagging symptoms of Metatarsalgia, then you know all about Metatarsal pain. In addition to getting relief from inserts, pads, or pharmaceuticals, the ability to give yourself massages and do stretches to alleviate the pain in the ball of the foot can prove quite beneficial. Here are two widely used techniques you can try that may help treat your sore feet.
Massaging Away Metatarsal Pain
Massaging the correct area of your foot can help relieve the pressure of swelling and can also provide increased circulation to the affected area. It has the potential to give great relief from your foot pain. To properly do this procedure, cross the affected foot over your knee. Form a fist with your opposite hand and use your knuckles to apply gentle pressure to the bottom of the foot, starting near the arch or the ball of the foot.
Use small controlled circular motions and stroke your foot upwards towards the point of the toes. If done properly, this repeated action will get the blood in the foot to circulate sending oxygen to the muscles and ultimately relieving some or all of the foot pain and is an excellent Metatarsalgia treatment. It may take some time to get the motion down properly, so try this massage several times.
Stretching to Relieve Metatarsal Pain
Daily stretching is another way of relieving pain in the ball of your foot. An ankle extension stretch can offer great relief from this pain. To perform an ankle extension stretch, sit on the edge of a chair or a bed, whichever you find more comfortable. Place the affected foot across your thigh, while resting the other foot on the ground, which will keep you stabilized. Use one hand to grip the ankle of the affected foot and the other hand to grip the toes. Gently and slowly pull your toes towards you until you feel a great amount of pain.
Make sure to do this slowly and in a controlled manner. Hold the toes in this position for at least 10 seconds and then release them for 10 seconds. Perform this procedure eight times in sets of three. Carry out this routine throughout the day and on a daily basis as needed. It is especially useful after waking as muscles can tighten while sleeping causing extreme metatarsal pain in the morning.
The massage and stretch techniques listed above are quite beneficial for managing metatarsal pain and work even better if they are used together. While these procedures are designed for self-application, if you need assistance anyone else that is willing to administer help can do them. You can also alternate both techniques to reduce nagging pain.
If stretching and massaging are not sufficient to reliving your metatarsal pain you may need additional help. Meet with a physician to show you how to properly perform the procedures.
They may also offer additional help such as metatarsal pads that you can use throughout the day on their own or with self-performed physical therapy. Metatarsal pain can grow over time if left untreated, so it is not something that you will want to ignore.