How do I put Metatarsal Pads in the right spot?

We get this question quite often at Stan’s – how do you know the right spot to install a metatarsal pad in your shoe or know if the one on the orthotic you are wearing is in the correct spot?

The correct placement of met pads is vital for metatarsal arch support to ensure the pad is in the right place and adequately supports your metatarsal arch.

Common Metatarsal Pad Mistakes

  • The metatarsal pad is placed under the ball of the foot.
  • The metatarsal pad is placed underneath or in front of your heel
  • The metatarsal pad is installed in the wrong direction.

Where is the best spot to place a metatarsal pad?

The metatarsal pad should be placed right behind the ball of the foot area – right behind your toes. To find the right position for the pad, do the following. Palpate and massage your forefoot. In the area of the balls of your feet, you will find the bony metatarsal heads. The pad should be positioned directly underneath the soft part of the foot immediately behind the metatarsal heads. We like to imagine it as right in the “palm of your foot”, much like the palm of your hand.

met pad side foot placement

How do you place a metatarsal pad in the right spot?

This is our favorite trick: look at the footprint inside your shoes. The metatarsal heads leave slight dents on the insoles exactly where they like to be. On some insoles, you will see a slight discoloration or wear of the material from the metatarsal heads. Draw a line with a pencil and place the met pad right behind it. We recommend that you only peel back the adhesive backing halfway before you place the metatarsal pad in your shoe. By doing this, it makes it easier for you to reposition the metatarsal pad if it isn’t quite in the correct spot for you. Once you try walking with it and feel like it’s in the correct spot, then you can peel off the rest of the backing and fully adhere it to your shoe.

positioning a metatarsal pad

Other Metatarsal Pad thoughts

Notice in the drawing above that the teardrop-shaped met pad has the narrower pointed part pointing towards the heel of the foot. Make sure the pad is in that alignment for the most comfort.

The darker grey outline is a metatarsal bar – it offers even more support than a metatarsal pad. These come in matching pairs one pad shaped differently for the left foot and another for the right foot. Make sure the correct pad is in the correct shoe based on the drawing above of a left foot.

You can fine tune the placement of the metatarsal pad depending on what metatarsal issue you are trying to alleviate. You can place it more towards your 3rd and 4th toes (outside of the foot) if you’re having a neuroma issue between those toes. If you’re having pain at the ball of your second toe, you can move the metatarsal pad medially (towards the inside of your foot) to add more support in that area.

Insoles and shoes can have metatarsal support too

We offer insoles that have metatarsal support built into them so you can move the support more easily from shoe to shoe.

Great shoe brands such as Birkenstock, Taos, and Vionic build metatarsal support into their shoes, boots & sandals.

Stan’s can help you with metatarsal support

If you have questions on correct metatarsal pad placement or which insole with metatarsal support is right for you, please visit our stores or reach out to us so that we can help you be the most comfortable.

Visit these links for more information on Metatarsalgia or Morton’s Neuroma.