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Dancer's pads - do I buy a right or a left for my problem?

Dancer's Pads - selection and fit

We recently got into a discussion at the shop about dancer's pad and placement on the foot.  Which pad is the right pad and which is the left?  How does the left fit on the right foot?  How does a right treat a left?  I see how folks can get confused.Reusable Gel Dancer's Pad

There are three constants that you need to remember when using a dancer's pad -

1. Dancer's pads are only sticky on one side.

2. Dancer's pads are labeled with the intent of treating problems sub 1 (great toe joint).  The adjacent image shows a dancer's pad treating sub 1.

This means that a pack of left dancer's pads is intended to be used to treat problems beneath the left great toe joint.  These problems might include sesamoiditis, sesamoid fractures or even stage 1 hallux limitus.

3. Dancer's pads also can be used to treat problems sub 5 (little toe joint).

Here's where things get tricky.  If you're going to treat a left sub 5 problem, say bursitis, sub 5 left foot, you'll actually need to use a right dancer's pad.  Why?  Remember #1?  Dancer's pads are always right/left labeled to treat problems sub 1.  So if you're going to treat a problem sub 5, you'd actually be using the dancer's pad much like you would if you were treating the opposite or right foot.  Right?

Remember, most dancer's pads are used to treat sub 1. If you're treating sub 5 you can't just flip over the pad.  You actually need to buy a dancer's pad labeled for the opposite foot.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster

Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM
Medical Advisor

Updated 12/27/19

Leave your comment
3/23/2014 4:00 PM
OK, can I make this a bit more confusing? I have a painful callus on the ball-of-the-foot beneath my big toe and my little toe on both feet! So do I alternate the pad wearing it one day on my left foot and the next day on my right? I work as a nurse, standing for long shifts and wear mostly clogs or sneakers. Would this still work or do I need something different? Cindy
3/25/2014 7:37 AM
Howdy, There's a number of ways that you can treat both calluses at once. The economy dancer's pads are scalloped in a way that the pad will accommodate both the sub 1 and 5 spots. Alternatively, you could use a metatarsal pad without the cut-outs. I'd lean towards using the reuseable met pad in your case. Easy-on and easy-off. And one final idea - take a peek at the Pedag Comfort inserts. They have a very large metatarsal pad and will fit into just about any shoe. Jeff