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Which dancer’s pad is right for me?

How do you select the most appropriate dancer’s pads for your needs? This article explores the use of foam, felt and reusable gel dancer’s pads and guides you into how to use dancer’s pads.

How to choose the correct dancer’s pad for your needs.

Dancer’s pads are a type of forefoot pad that have a cut-out used to off-load the ball of the foot.  A dancer’s pad increases weight-bearing to the lesser metatarsal heads while decreasing load bearing to the sesamoids and big toe joint.  Dancer’s pads are used to treat sesamoiditis, sesamoid fractures, and early hallux limitus.

Felt dancer's padDancer’s pads can also be reversed and used to treat pain beneath the little toe and 5th metatarsal head.  By doing so, podiatrists often call this a ‘reversed’ dancer’s pad.   Reversed dancer’s pads are used to treat callus beneath the 5th metatarsal head.

At, we offer foam, felt and reusable gel dancer’s pads.  How to they differ?  Foam andFoam dancer's pad felt dancer’s pads are adhesive-backed and are typically going to be used directly in the shoe.  When the shoe’s insole is not removable, foam and felt dancer’s pads can be placed directly in the shoe on top of the insole.  But if the insole is removable, it’s advised to apply the foam or felt dancer’s pad to the underside of the insole.  By placing the foam or felt dancer’s pad on the underside of the insole, the dancer’s pad is less apt to move and will stay in place much longer.  Be sure to watch each of our product videos to understand how to order and where to place the dancer’s pad.

Reuseable gel dancer's padsGel dancer’s pads are intended to be worn directly on the skin.  Gel Dancer’s pads are a great all-around purchase in that they can be worn at all times, even just with socks around the house.

What’s the best choice for you?  If you’re a runner who uses running shoes in mostly dry climates, I’d select felt dancer’s pads and wear them on the underside of your insole.  If you’re a runner and you run a lot in wet climates or frequently in the rain, select the foam dancer’s pads.

If you lead a more pedestrian lifestyle, you may also use the foam or felt dancer’s pads in your shoes, but you might also want to go with the gel dancer’s pads.

Much of the choice of dancer’s pads requires a bit of trial and error.  You might have a felt dancer’s pad in your tennis shoe but use the gel in all of your dress shoes.  And remember, you don’t have to be a dancer to use dancer’s pads.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM

Medical Advisor

Updated 3/16/2021

Leave your comment
11/26/2018 11:21 PM
My doctor said that I have hallux limitus.  The information in your article on the condition discusses use of a dancer's pad and a spring plate.  When do I use the dancer's pad vs the carbon graphite spring plate?  Can i use them together?
11/27/2018 12:08 AM

Be sure to check out our article on hallux limitus (  The article describes the four stages of hallux limitus and which products are to be used in each stage of hallux limitus.

My preference is to use a Felt Dancer's Pad ( on the underside of the shoe insole, in stages 1 & 2.  As you progress to stage 3 & 4, you'll need to use the rigidity of a Spring Plate ( to limit range of motion of the joint.

Using the Dancer's Pad and the Spring Plate together?  Sound good but not the best idea.  The Dancer's Pad is used to plantar flex (lower) the first ray and increase motion while the Spring Plate is used to limit motion.

Hope this helps.

Jeffrey Oster, DPM
Medical Director