Calluses and Corns - 4 - Padding and Insoles To relieve Pressure
There are a number of over-the-counter- shoe padding, products and insoles available and, frankly, many of them don't live up to their claims. For example, insoles are designed to protect the bottom of the feet and may be fitted for the full length of the foot or for the arch alone.
Unfortunately, what you tend to find on the shelfare compromised products. By this I mean that the manufacturing has compromised the ability of the product to relieve pressure in order to make it more attractive and marketable to the consumer.
Manufacturers of footcare products know that women suffer more foot pain than men and are more likely to seek treatment for their foot pain than men, so they try to attract women to their products by making them soft and thin enough to fit into women's dress shoes. These products are less dense and cushioned than needed to be effective.Beware of very thin or very soft padding and insoles that claim to cushion the foot.
They usually wont. If a padding or insole doesn't appear capable of supporting your full weight or absorbing impact without compressing flat, then look for something better.Sometimes, no amount of modification can fix a shoe, and it's best simply to eliminate the source of pain. Instead of trying to pad a tight, unsupportive shoe, replace it with a more supportive, better fitting (even less stylish) shoe - at least until the foot problem improves.
If you have tried and failed to find relief with over-the-counter products, see a podiatrist. Here are some recommendations for quality, over-the-counter products for modifying footwear.
Moleskin is a type of padding made from cotton, synthetic material, or wool. It has an adhesive backing and can be cut to any shape and applied to the inside of the shoes or to the feet. It is foiund in the footcare section of most pharmacies. Moleskin comes in different thicknesses and densities.The softer types are less effective at distributing pressure and are less durable. When applied to shoes or insoles, moleskin should be replaced or layered as it compresses or shifts.
Wool Felt is a medical-grade padding that ha an adhesive backing and is very durable, especially when compared to some brands of moleskin. It is not available in most stores, but it can be found on the Internet.Wool felt can be custom cut and applied directly to the insides of shoes, insoles, or, temporarily, to the foot.
Aperture Pads are donut or horseshoe-shaped that can be palced around a painful callus. Some are available precut, while others can be custom-cut from moleskin. Donut- or horseshoe-shaped pads work well for relieving pressure on the callus.Foam aperture pads work best on the tops of the toes (to protect calluses or hammertoes) or the sides of the feet (to protect bunions) but do not work as well for painful areas on the bottoms of the feet.An insole with a wool moleskin pad will protect the bottom of the feet better and last longer than foam.
Metatarsal Pads are rounded pads designed to decrease pressure on the ball of the foot by increasing pressure at the end of the arch. When properly placed (at the end of the arch just before the ball of the foot), they can relieve pain from forefoot calluses. There are so many different types of metatarsal pads available over the counter that consumers can be easily confused.
The best metatarsal pads are those made from wool felt. They should feel firm. Foam, gel, thin, and flat metatarsal pads usually do not work effectively. The Hapad company makes wool metatarsal pads that are of medical-grade quality and effectiveness.
Digital Pads come in the form of sleeves, adhesive donut-shaped pads, or toe spacers and are made of silicone gel, foam, or felt. Toe sleeves slip over and wrap the toe. Adhesive felt or foam can be applied to the skin around a painful callus, and spacers can be placed between the toes to relieve pressure. It is important to avoid shoes that put pressure on the toes.
Reference: Great Feet For Life: Paul Langer, DPM