Metatarsal pads (also called met pads) are used for a host of forefoot conditions to include bursitis, capsulitis, Morton’s neuroma and metatarsal deformities. The idea behind a met pad is really quite simple. The met pad increases the load bearing surface area under the forefoot, subsequently decreasing load to the problem spot.
Metatarsal pads are one of the top selling products we offer at Myfootshop. So I thought it would be important to talk a bit about their use and how to use them.
In practice, I prefer the use of a firmer met pad like a felt met pad or a firm rubber met pad. The firmness may be a bit noticeable at first, but the support will last much longer than a softer foam met pad.
Application of a met pad can be a bit counter-intuitive at first. Most folks would tend to think that a pad should be placed directly under the metatarsal heads. But met pads are designed to be used just proximal to the load bearing surface of the forefoot (see image above). One other trick that is helpful is to try to place the met pad on the bottom of the shoe insert. By placing the met pad on the bottom, you will receive the same degree of support but you won’t feel the firmness of the pad.
A unique form of metatarsal pad is called a dancer’s pad. A dancer’s pad is used to specifically off load the great toe joint for conditions like sesamoiditis or sesamoid fractures. Dancer’s pads are also great for hallux limitus.
Metatarsal pads can also be placed on OTC orthotics. The one advantage of this method is that once the arch support is placed into the shoe, the met pad ought to be positioned in exactly the right spot….that makes livn’ easy.
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM