Amazon is the world's largest eCommerce platform with millions of active sellers. It is where you can find almost any product you need—including products that will provide relief to your foot pains like metatarsalgia.
You’ll have many choices, and there will be several pages of product search results. To help you in your search, we have listed the different metatarsal pad designs you’ll encounter on Amazon, how to choose the best metatarsal pads, and the benefits of using them. So get your notepads ready as all your metatarsal pad and foot pain relief questions are about to be answered!
What are metatarsal pads and metatarsals?
Let’s have a quick review of the anatomy of the foot. The metatarsals are the bones that connect the tarsals and the phalanges. If you look at an image of foot bones, the phalanges are the bones of your toes, the metatarsals compose the ball of the foot and midfoot, and the phalanges are found in the heel area.
The pain of the ball of the foot is called metatarsalgia, and it can be addressed or prevented by using metatarsal pads which come in different designs. Using metatarsal pads ensures that your metatarsal pain will not develop into more serious foot conditions.
How do I use the different designs of metatarsal pads from Amazon?
We are featuring four of the most common metatarsal pad designs you will see on Amazon. Check out the pros and cons of each and their usability to help you decide which is fit for your needs and can best address the metatarsal pain you are feeling.
Gel pads with single toe ring
The first design you will see is metatarsal pads made of gel. Where should metatarsal pads be placed? In this case, you should put the pads under the ball of the foot. You can do this by inserting the toe ring first then positioning the gel cushion under your metatarsals. This product is best worn with socks and shoes to ensure it won’t move. Some brands selling gel metatarsal pads are Dr. Scholl’s, Dr. Frederick’s, Boyiee, and PrimeMed. Most products are sold in several pairs, so you’ll have gel pads to use daily.
- The gel pads are washable and reusable
- Easy to wear and remove
- Almost always sold in several pairs
- Sizing fits most foot sizes
- You cannot use them barefoot
- Easily moved and displaced with strenuous movements
Metatarsal cloth or gel sleeves
Suppose you have an active lifestyle, and you always find yourself jogging, hiking, climbing, jumping ropes, or exercising in a gym. In that case, you need metatarsal pads that are not easily displaced. It is the primary benefit you will get from metatarsal cloth or gel sleeves.
The only difference is the material used for the sleeves. Still, both variations have the same design of wrapping the metatarsals and providing an extra cushion in the ball of the foot area. Where to place metatarsal pads? Make sure to slip in the toe holes accordingly and position the thickened cushion under your metatarsals.
- Sleeves have a more steady attachment
- Both gel and cloth sleeves are washable and reusable
- You can wear these with shoes
- You can wear these barefoot
- You can wear them 24/7
- A bit bulkier and adds a few inches of thickness inside shoes
- More foot size sensitive because they are used around the metatarsals
Foot arch sleeves
When part of the feet experiences pain, it is because the pressure from running or walking is not evenly distributed. With this, you need proper support, and not just in the part that you feel pain in. Sometimes, the solution to painful metatarsals lies in adding a cushion to the arch of the feet, so pressure can even be distributed and not only be absorbed by the metatarsals. It is what the foot arch sleeves do. Just wear the sleeves around your feet and position the gel cushions under the arches.
- Easy to wear and remove
- You can use them at home or while wearing socks and shoes
- Washable and reusable
- Most foot arch sleeves are made with breathable and sweat-absorbent cloth
- Uncomfortable and may be painful at first because of the arch position adjustment
Shoe metatarsal pads
Whether you are in stilettos or wearing sneakers, you can find metatarsal support products on Amazon. These metatarsal pads use silicone gel specially designed to be sweat-absorbent, breathable, and having a no-skid design. Where to put metatarsal pads? For this design, put the pads on the shoe soles using the adhesives already stuck under the pads. Clean your insoles first before attaching the pads. Some also put a mark on the soles of their feet first and wear their shoes to leave a mark to ensure they stick the pads in the right area.
- You can stick them in different types of shoes for both men and women
- Washable and reusable
- Easy to stick and detach
- Sold in several pairs so that you can attach them to several pairs of shoes
- Reviews show that some adhesives are weak and detach easily
- The additional layer will make narrow-toed shoes more cramped
Pads may not only come in the form of the cushion being added to the area at the ball of the foot. Many shoe insoles are also designed with extra metatarsal support. If you want a metatarsal support product that you do not have to worry about attaching and detaching and has minimal requirements for cleaning, choose shoe insoles. Yet, make sure to check the product specifications and pick the design with metatarsal support. Also, check for insoles with heel and arch support, so you are certain foot pressure is distributed throughout the feet.
- Supports the metatarsals and all parts of the feet
- Most insoles are designed to be cut in the metatarsal area to fit different shoe sizes
- Easy to attach and remove
- You can’t wear them with open-toed shoes
- They can be painful for the feet at first because of the realignment of your foot’s position
When do I use metatarsal pads?
If you believe in the saying, “Prevention is better than cure,” you can use metatarsal pads even if you are not experiencing foot pain. Yet, if you already have metatarsalgia, the reason for your use of this product heightens even more. Here are the instances when you should consider using metatarsal pads.
You have recurring pain at the ball of your foot
After a long day of playing sports like football or performing strenuous exercises, you end up with painful metatarsals. You think you just need to give it a rest, and the pain will go away. Yet, in the days that follow, the pain is still there. Chances are, your metatarsals have stress fractures, and doctors may prescribe steroid or non-steroid medicines to you. Support this medication with footwear that has metatarsal support or by wearing metatarsal sleeves and gels. Doctors may suggest you minimize movement, so make minimal movement less painful with a cushion for the ball of your foot.
You have metatarsal corns and calluses
Metatarsal pain comes from the bones inside, but you can also utilize the pads, sleeves, and insoles to prevent or relieve the pain of the skin caused by corns and calluses. Pressure and friction thicken the skin, which eventually develops into corns and calluses. Prevent this from happening by cushioning your feet with gel or soft cloth. The products are best complemented by ensuring your feet are moisturized. Apply foot lotion or visit a spa for some foot pampering every once in a while.
You have an active lifestyle
As mentioned, stress fractures are common to athletes. If you are a hiker or a jogger, you may also experience the “march fracture.” It is a term used to describe the pain felt by soldiers after walking for miles and a term also used for metatarsal pain because of fatigue.
If you know that your feet are strained through sports, exercise, or your line of work, proactively protect your metatarsals by using pads or insoles. If you are currently experiencing metatarsal pain because of your recent activities, use metatarsal support products.
You often wear narrow-toed shoes
Are the corporate world and the concrete jungle your daily destination? Part of your daily routine is preparing attire that will make you look professional and respectable because of all the clients and business meetings on your to-do list. With that, you must be ready with neat clothes and matching shoes. Unfortunately, many of these shoes aren’t built for comfort. Attach metatarsal pads in all your office shoes to ensure that you won’t experience a day of painful feet while you hustle.
You want to prevent other foot problems
When you leave metatarsal pain untreated, believing that the pain will fade on its own, you can be right or very wrong. If you are wrong, your foot pain can worsen, and other conditions like those mentioned in the next section can pop up. So, take no chances with your foot health and wear metatarsal support to relieve the pain and allow the metatarsals to heal. By doing this, you’ll reap the benefits of having pain and worry-free days. You can wear any shoe type and do endless activities because you have healthy feet.
How do metatarsal pads address other foot problems?
Aside from metatarsalgia, corns, and calluses mentioned earlier, which metatarsal pads can help prevent or treat, there are more serious foot conditions you can keep yourself from experiencing with metatarsal pads. When you experience pain, even in your feet, listen to it and treat it right away.
The feet have three bursae:
- Metatarsal bursa found in the ball of the foot
- Metatarsophalangeal bursa at the side of big toe joint
- Calcaneal bursa in the heels
These three areas happen to be pain-prone areas of the feet and can also suffer from swollen bursa or bursitis. The bursa ensures that there will be no friction between joints, but when it is swollen, it fails to fulfill its role.
By wearing metatarsal pads, you can inhibit metatarsalgia and metatarsal bursitis. You are hitting two birds with one stone by wearing sleeves or having your shoes padded.
Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout
Metatarsal pads are designed for the active youth and young professionals wearing all types of corporate shoes and for the sick and elderly suffering from arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.
Arthritis: The degeneration of joints causing bones to bump and rub against each other.
Osteoarthritis: A common type of arthritis occurring in hand joints, hips, and knees.
Gout: Occurs when the joints are swollen, and when the pain recurs, it is called gouty arthritis.
Keep your older loved ones from severe pain, especially if the affected joints are metatarsals, through cushions and gel pads.
The pain in one foot part will cause pain to the whole. It is what you’ll realize when you discover or experience plantar fasciitis. This condition is the swelling of the ligaments connecting the heel, midfoot, and forefoot, and has different causes. The pain is commonly felt in the heels but may also affect the arch or the metatarsals.
Do not let your metatarsal pain cause the inflammation of the plantar fascia as it would result in a graver kind of foot pain. Instead of tolerating a painful ball of the foot and treating it, you’ll be treating the pain of the whole foot instead.
When you look for products for bunion relief, you will notice some similarities to the products for metatarsalgia. For instance, there are arch sleeves that can also help relieve bunion pains. More importantly, when you have bunions, there is a high chance of a painful ball in your foot. The two conditions are connected.
If you have a history of bunions in the family, use metatarsal pads that have a big toe separator. You can also use silicone metatarsal sleeves with toe separators. While addressing your metatarsalgia, you are preventing or correcting bunions too.
Hammertoe and mallet toe
Hammertoe is the foot condition when the toe next to the big toe bends or overlaps over the big toe in the worst conditions. A mallet toe, on the other hand, occurs when the first joint near the toenail bends. Both conditions show obvious signs of toes moving where they are not supposed to be.
While using metatarsal products cannot prevent the bending of the toe joints, you can avoid overlapping of the second, third, and fourth toes. You can do this by using metatarsal pads with toe separators to ensure that the toes stay in their proper position.
Metatarsal Pads: Where To Buy
After all those facts about metatarsal pads and how they help address not only metatarsalgia but other foot problems, are you now convinced of the product’s benefits? If yes, then it is time to scour Amazon for the best metatarsal pads for you. In doing so, you can provide relief to your painful metatarsals, and prevent any other foot affliction from occurring.
If you want to check the products before purchasing, you can also go for over-the-counter metatarsal pads. Even better, have a medical consultation with a podiatrist first. Doctors usually have on-hand metatarsal pads that fit your needs.
Despite the information overload, you are now equipped with all the knowledge about metatarsal pads, metatarsalgia, and other foot problems that may develop because of a painful ball in your foot. Use this information to decide which type of metatarsal pads you should get, or by getting a couple of different types to satisfy your feet’s needs.
You can conveniently buy pairs on Amazon, or you can have a trip to a doctor for a consultation and get metatarsalgia relief products over-the-counter. What matters is that with these details about metatarsal pads and foot pain, you may be moved to give proper support for your metatarsals and your feet as a whole.