Physical stress can happen to any part of the human body. An active and healthy lifestyle doesn’t prevent injuries fully, although it can definitely minimize the chances. No matter how cautious people are, physical pain may just be around the corner. Standing too long, walking far distances, or stepping too heavily—any of these factors can have a great deal of impact on your feet.
Regardless of what causes your foot pain and irritation, your body does not have to endure the discomfort. You may find treatments, correct habits, and be introduced to something you’ve probably never heard of: a metatarsal pad. If you’ve never held one of these in the past, you will most likely be confused at first.
While most people’s instinct is to blindly explore metatarsal pads and ‘understand’ how it functions, it does not necessarily mean that what they’re doing is correct. Without extra precaution, this experimentation can lead to severe foot damage. You do not have to experience injury to use metatarsal pads properly. This is why this article will explain the common mistakes you should avoid and how you can attach metatarsal pads to your insoles on your own.
What are Metatarsal Pads?
Metatarsal pads are soft layers of foam, rubber, or felt. They are used to protect the metatarsal bones from further damage or injury. Their benefits are what makes them highly sought. Among these benefits are their eco-friendly reusability and affordability.
Suppose you’re in a rush to dress up for a special occasion and you’re dealing with a foot condition. In that case, you can slip in some metatarsal pads with any closed pair of shoes without compromising your outfit. When that’s done, you’re good to go!
Medical experts highly recommend metatarsal pads, primarily for their cushioning effect as they aid gross motor movements like walking. Instead of exerting pressure to a specific area of your foot (usually on the affected area), the metatarsal pad ensures that the weight will be evenly distributed by absorbing the excess downward force. It’s similar to the shock-absorbent rubber mats that you use when doing circuit training or core conditioning in the gym.
One of the best parts about metatarsal pads is that you can bring them and use them anytime and anywhere. They also free you from the hassle of buying newer, more comfortable shoes instead of the ones you have at home.
A remarkable feature of metatarsal pads is that they do not come off loosely when you stick them to your shoe insoles. They are water-resistant when in contact with sweat and can endure friction from foot movement. This is explained by the silicone structure, which lets the pad stay flexible and adjustable, and will fit any foot shape, type, and size.
On top of all these benefits, it is easy to choose from various metatarsal pads. Just choose your favorite color and design, find what’s within your budget, and check how the pads would look on your foot. Eventually, you’ll get to enjoy your favorite pair of shoes without painfully hobbling through simple foot movements.
Common Metatarsal Pad Placement Mistakes
While it is easy to decide what kind of metatarsal pads would feel best on your feet and look best with your outfit, the challenges arise when trying to put the pads on the shoes themselves. It’s not a simple sticker which you can place anywhere you like; it has to be positioned correctly to improve your foot’s wellness.
Unfortunately, the wrong placement can drastically affect how your foot naturally rests instead of supporting the metatarsal bones’ healing. Not only would it cause a great deal of irritation, but it can also worsen your current injuries or give you a new one. If you have arthritis, sesamoiditis, metatarsalgia, or Morton’s Neuroma, podiatrists highly suggest that you use a set of metatarsal pads. Likewise, if you’re fond of wearing high heels, metatarsal pads absorb much of the pain and burning sensation.
Contrary to popular belief, attaching metatarsal pads can be tricky. Here are some of the most common mistakes that you should avoid doing:
- Not taking the shoe insole out and just placing the pad inside
- Peeling the adhesive completely and sticking the pad immediately
- Repeatedly peeling off and sticking the pad back in
- Placing the pad directly on the ball of foot area
- Randomly placing the pad on the insoles
- Forgetting to attach metatarsal pads in the other shoe
Now that you know the common mistakes, what exactly is proper metatarsal pad placement? Is there a perfect way to execute this without the hassle of trial and error? Read on to find out more.
Metatarsal Pads: Proper Placement
It is not at all difficult to learn how to stick your metatarsal pads with the proper placement inside your shoes. The key to the correct placement is by ensuring these pads press into the space behind the ball of your foot, not underneath it.
When you place the pad under the ball of your foot, it will worsen your foot condition (e.g., metatarsalgia, neuromas, capsulitis). Aside from this, it can result in extreme discomfort. Nobody wants that. In need of some instruction? Below are nine steps to guide you on how to effortlessly figure out the perfect metatarsal pad placement on your foot:
- Remove the liner or insole of your shoes: Put your hand inside the shoe and find the insole or liner. After finding the insole, take it out completely. If your shoe doesn’t have an insole or liner, you can skip this step.
- Locate the pad’s target area on your shoes: You need to visualize, imagine, and estimate where the pads need to be placed.
- Match the located target area with your foot: Gently put your foot over the insole and try to feel if the metatarsal pad meets the affected area on or around your foot.
- Peel the metatarsal pad adhesive backward: Pull the metatarsal pad adhesive a fourth of the way backward, but not entirely. It’s best to double-check the insole target area.
- Test the placement of your pads before sticking it: Stick a fourth of the pad on the insole, particularly on the space you estimate will meet your affected foot area.
- Try wearing the shoe to test if it feels comfortable: Place the insole back inside the shoe and carefully try to wear the shoe with the metatarsal pad in it.
- Adjust the metatarsal pad placement if necessary: If you feel like you need to move the pad slightly higher, lower, or to another side, freely do so until you find the correct placement that’s comfortable to your foot.
- Peel off the adhesive and stick it to the area: Once you find the correct placement for your foot condition, peel the adhesive off entirely from your metatarsal pad.
- Repeat this process with your shoe and footwear: Apply the same steps, from #1 to #8, to the opposite shoe, and make sure that both shoes give your feet the same feeling.
Was our guide easy to follow? Did you learn anything new about metatarsal pads placement? Let us know what you think by sharing your thoughts in the comments section below! We would love to hear from you!