Running with Ease: Metatarsal Pads for Runners
5 min read
September 23, 2021

Running with Ease: Metatarsal Pads for Runners

5 min read
September 23, 2021

A good run refreshes you—it’s beneficial to both physical and mental health. It’s an intense sport, and runners follow a proper diet and exercise routine to maintain their health. Of course, using the right running shoe is vital to keep optimal foot health. But like all athletes in high-impact sports, experiencing forefoot pain is almost inevitable.

If you are a runner, you may be familiar with these common foot problems: metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuroma, bunions or bursitis, Plantar Fasciitis, stone bruises, and fallen arches. Having any of these can affect your running routine and foot health.

When experiencing foot ailments, continuing to run will only aggravate your condition because of the impact directly on the ball of your foot. Thus, health care professionals recommend runners recover first before giving it another shot. But once you’re in your final stage of recovery, you might be wondering: How do I get back to running again, with a safer approach? Well, one of the most helpful solutions to get you back on your feet is through using metatarsal pads.

What is a Metatarsal Pad?

Metatarsal pads, also known as met pads, are gel-containing cushions positioned and placed on your shoes’ insoles, in the pocket of space behind your metatarsal heads. Met pads are designed as insoles. Insoles are the paddings of every footwear, making it more comfortable for the wearer to walk and run. In the form of met pads, extra cushioning helps achieve optimal foot health for individuals suffering from a foot injury, providing the right support and distributing the pressure evenly when standing, walking, or running.

For runners, wearing met pads along with their running shoes can help diminish the pressure on the balls of their feet, as the head of the metatarsal bone gets the brunt of the impact of every single kick off the ground.

What Does a Metatarsal Pad Do?

The nagging foot pain you may be feeling is caused by too much strain on your forefoot, particularly around your big toe. Your foot has been carrying all the impact daily, through the years of weight-bearing work and activities like going to school or work, grocery shopping, exercising, and more. Unfortunately, using foot-deforming shoes also damages the overall function and structure of your foot and toes. High heel elevation is one of the most harmful design elements in standard footwear.

This is where metatarsal pads come to the rescue.

For runners, wearing met pads along with their running shoes can help diminish the pressure on the balls of their feet, as the head of the metatarsal bone gets the brunt of the impact of every single kick off the ground.

Met pads offer distinct advantages, even if you aren’t experiencing any foot problems at all. Additionally, using metatarsal pads for runners is highly advisable for athletes since they spend long periods of time running and doing other high-impact sports and activities. By using these, athletes can secure their feet with shock absorption accessories.

Where to Put Metatarsal Pads

Metatarsal pads help support your foot from your daily whatabouts as a runner. Here are practical tips on how you can get them on properly:

Step 1: Take out the liners/insoles of your footwear.

Notice the concave area right above the middle of the insole, that is where your metatarsal head lies. This concave portion is where it receives all the impact and pressure from day-to-day activities. Draw a little arch showing the head of the recessed section to serve as a guideline.

Step 2: Use sticky tape to put the met pads in place.

Once you’ve finished making a guideline, you can take one of your metatarsal pads and place the tip of it to the arch you drew. After that, trace the met pad with a marker or pencil. Then, use sticky tape to attach the pad to the insole.

Step 3: Use the metatarsal pads for a few days or a week.

Getting used to the met pads is important to ensure comfort and ease for your foot, especially if you are a runner. The reason behind the method above is to temporarily stick the met pads, helping you move them to a more comfortable area on your foot if the original spot isn’t right for you. With the sticky tape method, you can go ahead with your running routine and see if the met pads are in their preferred place.

Step 4: Stick the metatarsal pads to your insoles.

After observing how your feet feel for about a week or more, you can now retrace the met pad and remove the sticky tape. Then, you can peel off the release liner of the met pad and stick it to where the guide is at. Take note that these met pads stick permanently in place.

Where to Buy Metatarsal Foot Pads

Metatarsal pads are available in local pharmacies and shoe care stores. But with the wide selection of met pads out there, it will be hard to choose the most suitable ones for you.

The best materials for met pads are wool or polyester, latex and leather, and open-cell polyurethane foam. In addition, many manufacturers create different designs and shapes to fit the preferences of their customers.

These are some of the various shapes of footpads for runners:

  • U-shaped pad
  • Donut-shaped pad
  • Met dome

Out of all these variations, research indicates that the met dome shape is the most comfortable and effective option for runners to reduce pressure on the foot.

How to Avoid Foot Injuries

The best cure is always prevention. Here are some helpful tips to keep your feet in tip-top shape.

Wear proper footwear

Being a runner means your foot is your foundation to keep going. Running shoes are designed to support and absorb the impact from weight-bearing locations on your foot. By wearing proper footwear, you are not only preventing yourself from developing foot ailments from the constant pounding, but you are also ensuring comfort to your feet.

Stretch before and after running

Runners who skip stretches and head right to running are susceptible to various foot ailments. Stretching before running is necessary to prepare your joints, muscles, and tendons by regulating blood flow to these areas. Stretching also helps increase heart rate and range of motion, prepping you for the rush.

On the other hand, doing a 5-minute stretch after running cools you down, once again regulating blood flow and signaling that your body is ready to rest.

Consider using orthotics

Whether you’re experiencing foot pain or not, using orthotics can help your foot cope with the damage it receives from the impact. One of the best orthotics accessible to many are met pads. Several metatarsal pads for runners have helped secure foot comfort and safety for recreational and competitive runners alike.

Observe your running mechanics

If you’ve lost or gained weight over time, considering your running mechanics prevents you from suffering foot pain. Simply put, the heavier the weight, the stronger the impact is on your foot. So, if you are a runner or aspiring to be, take things slow. Doing this can help your foot adjust to your weight, allowing it to support you better.

The Takeaway

Using supporting accessories for your foot helps you in more ways than one, especially as a runner. Hence, using metatarsal pads is the least you can do to take yourself further, both in life and in your hobby or career. Get a pair today, and run with confidence!

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