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Off-loading forefoot pads - specific purpose - which one is best for my needs?

Forefoot Pads - treatment of forefoot pain

The third and final category of off-loading forefoot pads is the pads that are used to target or treat a specific portion of the forefoot. By off-loading, we're referring to a pad that is placed adjacent to the area that is being treated.

Specific off-loading pads are those pads that are used to treat sub 1 (great toe joint) and sub 5 (5th metatarsal phalangeal joint or little toe joint).  Sub one problems might include a sesamoid fracture or sesamoiditis.  Stage 1 hallux limitus might also fall into this category.  Sub 5 problems are going to be caused by bursitis.  These pads can also be used to treat focal areas of callus.  These pads also come as a single-use or reusable version.  The adhesive-backed pads can be applied directly to the foot or be applied into the shoe.  Remember, if you're going to apply the pads into the shoe, try them first directly on the foot.  In this way, you'll know how they're supposed to feel when properly positioned.  It's much easier to nail the correct position of the pad directly on the foot compared to placing the pad in the shoe.  But once you become proficient at placing the pads, put them in the shoe.  You'll save by placing one pad in the shoe vs. placing a new pad on the foot each day.  Be sure to watch our videos on each product page for specific instructions on the placement of each pad.

The most common example of a specific use off-loading forefoot pad would be a Dancer's Pad.  The Dancer's Pad can be used to off-load sub 1.  Flip it over or reverse it and the Dancer's Pad can be used to off-load sub 5.

Here's an example of several specific use, single-use, adhesive-backed, off-loading pads including dancer's pads -

Economy felt dancer's pads  Dancer's pad  Foam dancer's pad  Felt callus pad

Examples of a reusable specific purpose off-loading pad include -

Reusable gel callus cushion  Reusable gel U-shaped pad  Reusable dancers pad

It's interesting how often the general purpose and the specific purpose pads can be interchanged, mixed and matched.  Although a dancer's pad would be the better choice for sesamoiditis, many folks would find relief with the use of a general-purpose metatarsal pad.  So don't think of these guidelines as literal.  Feel free to mix and match.  Hopefully, these guidelines will get you oriented to the groups of pads we sell, how they can be used and which might be best for your intended use.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster

Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM
Medical Advisor

Updated 12/27/19

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