Insoles for Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is a common condition that is treated by over the counter or custom insoles. The pain that arises from metatarsalgia can develop from a collapse of an arch in the foot. Supporting this arch with insoles can relieve the pressure that is leading to metatarsalgia pain.

What is Metatarsalgia?

Metatarsalgia is a condition that is characterised by pain at the ball of the foot. This metatarsalgia diagnosis actually encompasses multiple different diagnoses that cause pain at the ball of the foot. Each diagnosis under metatarsalgia has a slightly different area of pain at the ball of the foot.

Causes of Metatarsalgia Pain

In many cases, metatarsalgia is caused from or contributed by a collapse of the metatarsal arch (arch at the ball of the foot). When this arch collapses, it causes a few different pain areas at the ball of the foot. Pressure at the bones at the ball of the foot increases due to the collapse. The structures running between the bones at the ball of the foot (metatarsals) become compressed leading to pain here. The toe joints can also become affected as the pressure is shifted with an arch collapse.

Metatarsal pad to lift the metatarsal arch and help with Morton's Neuroma

Insoles for Metatarsalgia

An insole for metatarsalgia can be from an over the counter insert or a custom foot orthotic. The difference between an over the counter insert and a custom foot orthotic is that the insert is made for a generic foot, and the custom orthotic is made exactly for your foot.

For both insoles, a metatarsal pad is a common feature to help with metatarsalgia pain. This pad is a bump-like shape that is present just behind the ball of the foot. In many cases, people will feel this as a golf ball under their feet for a week or two. After the adjustment period, this golf ball feeling should dissipate.

Over the Counter Insoles

When looking for the right over the counter insole for metatarsalgia pain, it’s important to find an insole with this metatarsal pad. Not all over the counter insoles have the same kind of support. Some will have great support through the main arch (inside of the foot) but will lack the metatarsal support for metatarsalgia. Others will have very little support for the main arch, but will have metatarsal support for metatarsalgia. Some people will have great results with a metatarsal pad and very little main arch support while others require both arch supports to provide relief.

Because not every over the counter insole has a metatarsal pad, it is possible to add a metatarsal pad after. A Canadian Certified Pedorthist can take an over the counter insole and attach a metatarsal pad. It’s always recommended to have this metatarsal pad attached by a professional. This allows the pad to be placed in the correct position instead of too far forward or backwards.

When starting with an over the counter insole, it may take a few inserts to find which one is the most comfortable and provides the most relief. If an over the counter insole is not providing adequate relief, it may be time to upgrade to a custom foot orthotic.

Custom Foot Orthotics

A custom foot orthotic has more opportunities for metatarsalgia pain relief as many different features can be utilized. First, the main arch support is custom to your arch to provide support in the areas that matter. Next, the metatarsal support can be increased, decreased or moved based on your foot and what feels most comfortable. Other features can be added to the custom insole to change the way the foot is moving and offload pressure where appropriate. Cushioning can also be added to specific areas where needed.


Insoles for metatarsalgia can be used to relieve pain. A good first step is to ensure your insoles have a metatarsal pad included.

If you have questions about your feet, contact us or book an appointment!

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