Are you an avid runner? Do you put on your shoes every day for a quick jog in the park? If your answer is yes, then you've probably felt some pain on the balls of your feet after a strenuous run. That pain is called metatarsalgia and is focused on the top area of your feet.
Running is a great physical activity, in any case. It is one of the best cardiovascular exercises to keep your heart healthy. Getting regular exercise is crucial not only to your physical health but also to your whole psyche. If you are trying to maintain your weight, you can shed extra pounds by regularly jogging them off.
Your feet shouldn't stop you from taking steps to keep healthy. While metatarsalgia can be an inevitable part of your life if you're an enthusiastic runner, you do not have to despair. Metatarsal pads for running are here to your rescue.
Structure of the Feet
Take your hands and place them on a table. Then, lift your wrists with your fingers still flat on the surface. You'll feel pressure on your palms, right? That is what happens every time you take a step with your shoes on.
If your hands and feet had similar bone structures, the palms of your hands are where your feet's metatarsal bones would be. That area is commonly known as the balls of the feet. Running strains this particular part of the feet; hence, it is one of the most common areas where pain can occur.
While they are marketed to be super comfortable, wearing closed shoes is actually unnatural for the human feet. Our ancestors evolved biologically without wearing shoes for a very long time. Even now, there are some areas of the world where shoes aren't part of people’s everyday lives.
For example, people from rural areas don't suffer from the same foot problems urban residents have. Studies suggest this may be because their feet are significantly less confined in closed shoes. Naturally, people who are into running and other feet-centered activities will have more foot pains than the average person.
Causes of Metatarsal Pain
Many things can cause metatarsal pain. Here are a few conditions your feet could suffer from.
Like the other parts of your body, your feet can suffer from constant pressure. Closed shoes or running shoes can significantly disrupt the equal distribution of pressure on your soles.
When your feet are flat and unconstrained, the surface area is considerably larger than if your feet are inside shoes. A larger surface area is needed to disperse the whole weight of your body on your feet. That’s why people who don't wear closed shoes all the time don't have the same foot aches.
The metatarsal bones are crucial in keeping your balance and supporting your body weight. As you age, the constant strain on your feet can affect the metatarsals, especially when aging comes with rapid weight gain.
Old age and years of making unhealthy lifestyle choices can cause rheumatoid arthritis. Because the metatarsals are connected to the rest of the foot through the joints and ligaments, arthritis can also be the reason for the ache on the balls of the feet.
Dancers, soccer players, and runners will acquire foot injuries along the way. It is easy to develop metatarsalgia when the feet are stressed from being often enclosed in shoes. The balance of the feet is a little off with footwear that restricts the top of the feet from spreading as much as possible. Nerve damage, among other more severe injuries, is also more likely to occur in athletes who use their feet often.
Benefits of Metatarsal Pads for Running
If you are suffering from metatarsalgia, metatarsal pads or met pads are an essential part of your routine. Unlike other orthopedic remedies, you can wear met pads inside your regular shoes because they don’t take up that much space.
Primarily, met pads alleviate foot ache by filling the gap or arch between the balls of the feet. They restore balance by creating a wider surface area to distribute the pressure of the body's weight evenly on both feet. As a result, they remove the strain from the metatarsals.
Another benefit of wearing metatarsal pads includes correcting toe alignment. Nerve damage on the toes can happen when the toes are always squished together inside footwear. The effect can range from a feeling of numbness to stabbing pain. Met pads provide immediate relief in this case.
Kinds of Met Pads
You can buy two kinds of metatarsal pads. Mobile met pads can be worn on your feet inside the shoes, while stationary met pads are permanently put on your shoes. Choosing the best metatarsal pads for running depends on whether you want to wear them only when you go for a run or if you want to wear them even at home.
Stationary metatarsal pads for running shoes typically have a strong adhesive that allows them to be pasted on the sole of the shoe and last for quite a while. Meanwhile, mobile metatarsal pads for runners can be worn over socks or bare feet. They usually come with a garter strap that you can wear like a band on your feet to keep the pad in place.
If you experience pain even when you are walking normally, it is better to get mobile met pads so that you can wear them to all your appointments. The advantage of buying stationary met pads, on the other hand, is that you don't have to keep putting them on only to remove them later. They stay on your shoes once you paste them. If you spend your days wearing your shoes, stationary pads may work for you.
Aside from the kind of metatarsal pads, the material from which they're made should be an important consideration too. There are many materials used to make met pads. Choose the texture and hardness of the pads depending on your needs.
Some materials to choose from are felt, foam, and silicone. Each has its own features and advantages. Remember that your comfort is paramount in your met pad choice. If felt is the most comfortable for you, you should get it. The same goes for silicone and foam.
Hobbies like running can alter your physical and mental health. There's no harm in doing what you love, especially when it improves the whole of your body. However, like all exercises, running demands a lot from your body. Do it healthily by supporting your feet as much as you can.
Metatarsal pads aren't only for people who are into running. It is also a precautionary accessory for anyone who wants to preserve their foot health. If you're wondering whether to get met pads or not, you should look at your current lifestyle. If you spend all your days in your shoes, you should definitely get a pair to wear.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. Don't wait for metatarsalgia to happen to you. When you choose the best metatarsal pads for you, think of what material it is made of. Choose the material that gives you maximum comfort. Love your feet by giving them the support they need to keep you up and running.