A Beginners Guide to Metatarsal Pads: The Best You Can Buy

July 10, 2021

Metatarsal pads are the cheapest way to relieve the pain on the ball of your foot or the metatarsal head. But since the market is saturated with various foot relief products, it is getting hard to buy the real deal nowadays. It gets more challenging if you are experiencing foot problems for the first time and have no idea which one to choose.

This article will discuss metatarsal foot pads, how to apply them, and our recommended metatarsal foot pads.

What Are Metatarsal Pads

Forefoot pain, also referred to as metatarsalgia, is hard to ignore. The sharp pain shoots whenever you are walking, standing, running, and even while you are shifting in your seat.

Believe it or not, this aching sensation at the bottom of your foot can hinder you from doing your daily routine. It is like a pebble is stuck in your shoe all day, and you know how irritating that is.

But this time, it also comes with shooting pain on the ball of your foot that worsens every time you move. The only moment it doesn't "attack" is when you are resting, and you can't be resting all day. It is why having metatarsalgia can easily affect your daily life.

Thus, the invention of metatarsal footpads. They are also called met pads, metatarsal orthotic, metatarsal orthosis, or metatarsal bars. What are met pads? According to FootEducation, met pads are "placed on a shoe insert in such a way that they offload the painful prominent area under the ball of the forefoot that has been subject to excessive pressure." You can easily buy this conventional forefoot pain relief product over-the-counter or online.

How to Apply Met Pads

Based on a study, the position or placement of a metatarsal pad is one of the important factors to achieve significant relief. Besides placement, you should also consider the material and size of the metatarsal orthosis.

You may be wondering where to place metatarsal pads in the insole of your shoes. FootEducation shares a simple trick on how to do it properly. Here's the step-by-step procedure:

Materials you need:

  • Met pads
  • Orthotic insert
  • Lipstick or marking pen
  1. Put a mark on the sole of your foot where the discomfort is prominent using a marking pen or lipstick.
  2. Get the orthotic insert and step on it with your marked foot. Ensure that a mark is left on the orthotic insole by the marker or lipstick.
  3. Put the met pad on the orthotic insert before the marked area.
  4. Reinsert the orthotic insole in your shoe.
  5. Try walking around with it. Adjust the placement of the met pad if needed so you can identify the most comfortable location.

This process is also applicable for slippers and sandals, except that you will directly step on the insole of the footwear to mark it.

6 Best Metatarsal Pads to Try

Now that you have an idea of the proper way of placing a metatarsal orthotic, let's proceed to discuss the best metatarsal pads for metatarsalgia and their features below:

Dr. Frederick's Original Metatarsal Pads

Dr. Frederick's Original Metatarsal Pads are a comfortable and versatile forefoot pain treatment. It is made from stretchable gel and biodegradable TPE (thermoplastic elastomer).

Dr. Frederick's Original provides instant relief for metatarsalgia, calluses, corns, blisters, and other foot pains. It is also washable and reusable. Plus, it has a toe loop anchor to keep it in place.

However, one of the most common complaints about this product is that it slides out of place despite having a toe loop anchor. One buyer needed to wrap a loop of the first-aid tape around it to prevent it from moving—you might end up doing that as well.

Walkize Metatarsal Foot Pads for Women

Walkize is specially designed for sandals and high heels. It is a medical-grade gel met pad that can reduce the stinging sensation on the balls of your feet.

Each pair has a strong self-adhesive that retains its stickiness even if you adjust it constantly to find the most comfortable position. It is available in the three colors of black, beige, and clear, but only the first two variants are sweat-absorbent.

Although the black and beige Walkize met pads may be sweat-absorbent, they are also a bit visible when you wear them. If you want these pads to go unnoticed, choose the clear variant.

MARS Wellness Metatarsal Felt Foot Pad

When you buy MARS Wellness Metatarsal Felt Foot Pads, you will not only get two pairs of plain pads but six pairs of skived-cut pads in one pack. These are self-adhesive felt footpads with a cushioned insole.

This American-made foot pain relief patch works best when you place it between your foot's second and third metatarsal heads. And yes, the met footpad is placed directly on your foot rather than on top of an orthotic insole or your footwear's insole.

You might have a little trouble peeling off the pad because of its super sticky adhesive which may leave a residue on your foot. But overall, it does its job well.

Hyjinx Metatarsal Cushions

Although you can only buy Hyjinx Metatarsal Cushions as a single pair, it is perfect for forefoot problems like neuromas, metatarsalgia, calluses, fat pad atrophy, and bunion pain. In addition, it is reusable, so you only have to wash it thoroughly to remove dirt or lint.

The pads don't stink too, even though you use them for a long time. If you are not satisfied with the product, you can get your money back, no questions asked.

Hyjinx Metatarsal Cushions are self-sticking pads. For this reason, you may have a hard time removing them as their adhesive is very strong.

Pedag Drop Metatarsal Arch Pads

Pedag Drop Metatarsal Arch Pads are hand-crafted in Germany using natural materials like vegetable-tanned leather and water-based adhesives. Therefore, rest assured that you will be using hypo-allergenic and nature-friendly met pads.

Further, each pad has a metatarsal arch support for added comfort and control. It is also available in different sizes: small, medium, large, and extra-large, which means it can match any foot size.

One of the downsides of the Pedag Drop Metatarsal Arch Pads is it doesn't stick well. It would help if you taped it with adhesive tape to prevent it from moving out of place.

Hapad Metatarsal Foot Pads

It is the one that started it all: Hapad Metatarsal Foot Pads, a doctor-recommended foot care product. It is based on the design of Dr. Emil Hauser, the inventor of the longitudinal metatarsal arch pads. Dr. Hauser's brother, Theodor Hauser, saw its potential and helped to mass-produce it.

After 50 years or so, Hapad Metatarsal Foot Pads are still on the market and work to treat metatarsalgia, blisters, calluses, plantar fasciitis, and Morton's neuroma. This met pad is made from 100% virgin wool felt with an adhesive backing.

However, some buyers complain that its adhesive doesn't last long. So as a precaution, it’s best to put the first-aid tape around it to keep it firmly in place.

That's a wrap!

Although metatarsal foot pads are recommended by podiatrists and backed by science, you should consult your doctor first before shopping for a met pad. Always seek medical diagnosis and treatment to avoid your foot problems from getting worse.

In addition, ask your attending podiatrist what the best materials, shapes, sizes, adhesives, and placements for metatarsal orthotics are. Once you have enough information about your condition, you may start your quest of finding the perfect met pad for you.

Don't let metatarsalgia get in the way of your life. Instead, choose the most suitable metatarsal pads so you can enjoy the freedom of doing your regular activities, absolutely pain-free.

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