What are Metatarsal Pads?
You've probably heard of the buzzword metatarsal foot pads. It is the greatest thing that has ever been invented in the podiatric world. People claim that it is the solution to all your foot problems.
So, what are these miracle pads, and how do they solve your foot woes?
Metatarsal pads, also known as met pads, are soft gel footpads that distribute pressure across the metatarsal heads, also known as the ball of your foot. They also provide support to the transverse arch of your foot, relieving it of strain and forefoot pain.
The concept is that correctly wearing metatarsal support pads will supposedly position your feet in the proper posture. By being in the correct placement, your weight is evenly distributed across your feet and you would not feel pain even when wearing high heels.
Common Foot Problems that Met Pads can Solve
You are bound to experience at least one foot problem in your lifetime. They are very common and seem quite inevitable as long as you are walking, running, or even just sedentary. But even so, gel metatarsal pads are here to bring you pain relief.
Let us discuss some of the common conditions that will cause pain to your feet. If you can relate to any of these, it is probably time to have your feet checked.
It is an umbrella term for an injury that involves the metatarsal bones. It usually occurs when too much pressure is applied on the metatarsals, also known as the balls of your foot. The common cause of metatarsalgia is the constant wearing of high heels and excessive running or walking. The unusual load on the ball of the foot causes strain and spreads the metatarsal bones in an unnatural position. This leads to foot pain people describe as a burning sensation or like stepping on a pebble.
This condition occurs when the nerves in your foot become compressed, usually through excessive running or wearing too-tight shoes. The tissue wrapped around the nerves gets irritated and inflamed, which in turn, causes a tingling or numbing sensation in the foot. Similar to metatarsalgia, people afflicted with Morton's Neuroma can feel as though there is a pebble under their foot because of the swollen tissues.
This occurs when the plantar fascia, the tissue connecting the heel bone to the calf muscles, becomes damaged. This happens when the foot muscles are exposed to a sudden increase in load. Like when you had to stay on your feet for a lot longer during the day, or you rapidly increased the intensity or length of your run, or you wore shoes that had less support than normal. It can also be caused by a too high or too flat foot arch. When the tissue is damaged, the heel becomes painful and movement of the foot is reduced.
This happens when the fluid-filled sac that serves as a natural cushion for your joints becomes inflamed. This is usually caused by old age or, for younger people, overuse or excessive pressure on the sacs from running. Symptoms include your heel feeling swollen and painful to the touch; pain when walking and running; and increased pain when standing on your tiptoes or bending your foot.
5 Benefits of Wearing Met Pads
If you have noticed, most of the foot conditions are caused by daily routines like walking and running. The activities themselves are not harmful, but the conditions while doing these activities make them hazardous; specifically, running while wearing shoes that provide inadequate support, wearing high heels, wearing ill-fitting shoes, and sudden excessive foot activity.
This means that you do not really need to stop doing these activities. You just have to do them properly. That’s where metatarsal support pads come in. Here are the 5 benefits of wearing met pads:
1. Relieves foot pain
The most important benefit that people get when wearing met pads is that it immediately alleviates pain in the foot. As we have observed in common foot conditions, foot pain is usually caused by too much pressure applied to the ball of the foot. By wearing metatarsal pads, the gel inserts in the pads provide adequate support to the balls of your feet. The weight is distributed across your feet, which prevents you from feeling pain any longer.
Use these pads in your running shoes to ease the shock from the ground hitting your foot. Wear met pads with your high-heeled shoes. Since wearing heels puts the whole weight of your body on the ball of your foot, using met pads helps in distributing the weight across your foot. You will not feel tenderness or burning on the balls of your feet anymore.
2. Corrects the placement of metatarsals
Years of wearing inadequate footgear when doing sports, wearing high heels, or wearing ill-fitting shoes will have caused damage to the placement of your metatarsal bones. They can either have spread out due to the constant pressure applied to the balls of your feet, or the bones could have been pressed closely together due to the tight toe fit of the modern style of shoes today.
When regularly put out of place, the bones cannot function properly, and you will feel pain. When you do not have your foot examined during this time, the unnatural placement of the bones will become the norm for your foot. It will take longer and more intensive treatment or therapy to correct it in the future.
By using met support pads early on, it will prevent further damage to your foot bones. It will aid in the correction and proper placement of your metatarsal heads, keeping them in place even while doing activities. Continuous wearing of met pads ensures that your metatarsals are in good shape and will not cause any pain and discomfort. This also prevents any other foot conditions from occurring.
3. Straightens crooked toes
You might not notice it, but your toes may not be in their natural shape anymore. Crooked toes usually occur when the toe box of your shoe is tapered as is the case with dress shoes and high heels. The tight end of the shoe forces your toes together to fit in a limited space.
Inside the shoe, you can feel that the big toe and the little toe are curved inwards. The other middle toes are similarly bent, but downwards, like claws.
Aside from the unsightly deformation of the toes, your feet are not able to properly support and balance your weight anymore. Oftentimes, your toes may even chafe each other and cause blisters. You may probably develop bunions as well.
To everyone’s horror, this unnatural form of the toes while wearing shoes is retained even when you are already barefoot.
However, when you wear met pads, all these concerns are thrown out the window. You will not have to worry about any of them. The pads will correct your foot and toe placement. Your toes will rest in a natural position, correcting any crookedness with prolonged use.
4. Feels natural
Another benefit that you will notice when wearing met pads is that it does not feel obtrusive at all. They are usually designed to be sleek and to fit naturally in your shoes. You will not be required to buy bigger shoes just to use these pads comfortably.
There are also 2 options for met pads: the stationary and the mobile pads. You can choose to use either one or both, whichever feels more natural and convenient to you.
The stationary pads are the ones with the adhesive back that you stick to the soles of your shoes. These are removable, so you can take them out during washing or easily place them in a new pair of shoes.
The mobile pads are the ones that you wear on your feet like sleeves. This is perfect for use at home where you just go barefoot or simply wear socks. Even without shoes, you still get the support that your foot needs. These are also good for those times when you have to change shoes often in a day. No need to worry about not having enough met pads to stick to every pair of shoes. You will always have support on the go.
Metatarsal pads are usually made with durable and easy-to-wash materials, making them suitable for daily use.
5. Restores natural foot form
Other orthotic supports are often needed forever. Your feet will rely on those supports for life. Without them, your feet will not be in good shape and will be prone to injury and foot conditions.
On the other hand, with met pads, your feet are being restored to their proper form. Your feet in good form will solve all your foot problems. With continuous use, your feet will retain this natural form even without the pads.
Once in the correct shape, you can discontinue using the pads. Your feet will have eventually become self-reliant. You won’t need the pads anymore because your feet are in tiptop shape.
How to Use Met Pads Properly?
Metatarsal cushions do not require a professional or any special skill to use. You can figure out how to use them on your own. They are so accessible, easy-to-use, and quite cheap that everyone is advised to wear them. Even people who do not feel foot pain yet are recommended to use met pads to avoid foot conditions in the future.
For stationary met pads:
1. Locate the area in your shoe where the ball of your footrests. It would look a bit compressed.
2. Remove the film on the adhesive at the back of your met pad.
3. Place the pad just below the indentation, not directly on top of it.
4. Try it on to feel if the support is properly placed. Adjust accordingly.
5. You can mark the spot using a pen. This way, you can easily put them back in place when you have to wash the pads or your shoes.
For mobile met pads:
1. Choose the right size for your feet. They should fit snug enough that they do not move when your feet move, but not too tight that your feet lose circulation.
2. Wear them on the balls of your feet whenever you feel pain or every day to correct your foot form.
Tips When Buying Met Pads
- When purchasing metatarsal pads, it is better to do it in a physical orthotics shop. This allows you to test the compatibility of the various pads out there. You will also get customer service from trained professionals. They can assist you in the proper placement of the met pads.
- When purchasing online, it is advisable to shop in a store that provides a product trial period and a money-back guarantee. This ensures that you are satisfied with the product that you are getting. No wasting of money.
- The best metatarsal pads are made of durable yet comfortable materials. Choose ones that are made of medical-grade soft gel materials. These provide real support that will last a long time. Also, get the breathable ones for enhanced comfort throughout the day.
Start your pain-free journey today
Daily activities like walking, running and wearing shoes greatly affect your foot health. You may not detect the adverse effects until it is too late, and you are already experiencing debilitating foot pain.
Now that you have learned the common foot conditions and their causes, you can act accordingly and save yourself the trouble. Armed with the knowledge of the various benefits of metatarsal pads and how to use them, you do not have to endure any aches or discomfort any second longer.
Do not let foot pain cripple you and your life. Get yourself a pair of metatarsal support pads today.