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The second metatarsal head is commonly involved in cases of metatarsalgia. As part of the conservative treatment, metatarsal bars and metatarsal pads are often prescribed.
To compare the effectiveness of metatarsal bars and metatarsal pads in reducing impulse on the second metatarsal head.
Thirty-five healthy subjects were monitored with an insole scanning system during walking in four different conditions: (a) wearing shoes only, (b) shoes plus metatarsal pads and shoes plus metatarsal bars, placed either (c) perpendicular to the foot axis or (d) oblique to the foot axis. The impulse under the second metatarsal head was measured using the first condition as a control. Both feet were examined in each subject resulting in a total of 840 measurements.
Both metatarsal bars and metatarsal pads were effective in reducing impulse when compared with the control (P<0.01). Metatarsal bars were found to be more effective in reducing impulse as compared to the metatarsal pads (P<0.01), and the oblique position of the bars was more effective than the perpendicular one (P<0.01).
The greatest reduction of impulse on the second metatarsal head in healthy subjects is achieved with the use of metatarsal bars in an oblique position.