I’m a 60 year old woman. In the past few years, it seems as if the bones at the ball of my foot have lost their cushioning. I feel like I am walking on pebbles. I have experimented with adding padding to my shoes, but it either makes my shoes too tight

Often, as people, particularly women, age, they lose the fat pads on the bottom of their feet.  It’s natural to think that adding cushioning inside of a shoe will help, but what actually happens is that, like you found out, either it makes your shoes too tight or the cushioning bottoms out and provides no relief.  What is useful in this instance is to use some sort of metatarsal support, either in a full length or ¾ length orthotic insert.  Your metatarsal bones meet your toe bones to form the ball of your foot.  Behind the ball of your foot, the metatarsal bones form the metatarsal arch.  If you fill in this metatarsal arch, you will distribute pressure more evenly, and give your aching feet a break.  Come into one of our two Foot Solutions stores and let us demonstrate how much better you can feel.