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Foot Pain - Runner's Enemy No. 1

Three Not So Common Foot Injuries Explained

Foot pain is quite common for runners.

Think about. Your feet really take a pounding.

Your feet touch the ground about 800 times / mile.

And every time they touch the ground, the impact is equal to 2-3 x your bodyweight.

Your feet really take the majority of the punishment while running.

You could have a small imbalance in your stride or some small structural flaw and the result will be aches and pains from time to time.

So, it's not surprising that you can get some foot pain once in a while.

Some of the most common injuries or ailments to plaque runners are plantar fasciitis / heel spur, heel pain and black toenails. Strangely enough I am not discussing those here...!

No, they are so important, they have their own page.

So check out the following links if you wish to learn more about them:

  • black toenail

  • heel spur / plantar fasciitis

  • heel pain

  • On this page I discuss some other foot injuries that are also quite common and a little less known in runner's circles:

  • hammertoes

  • pain under three little toes

  • metatarsal stress fracture

  • Foot Injury #1: Hammer Toes

    So, what are hammer toes? When you have a hammertoe your toe can't remain in a straightened position. Even when you try to straighten it, it just does not work.

    You may also discover that corns have formed on the tops of the toes. These corns can cause pain when you run. Any of the toes can be inflicted with hammertoe, with the exception of your big toe.

    Hammer toes are usually a result of wearing shoes that are simply not fit for purpose. They can be not big enough or have a small toe-box.

    A small toe-box can cause more toe problems than hammertoes alone. Black toenails / runner's toe are a common problem with small toe-boxes as well.

    With the hammertoe, when you run in shoes that are basically too small for too much time, the tendons along the bottom side of your toes shorten. This causes you to be unable to straighten them.

    How to Prevent Hammertoes?
    Hammertoes are generally caused because of ill-fitting footwear. So make sure you start wearing shoes that fit more loosely, particularly in the toe-box. This is important for your everyday shoes and for your runners!!

    Foot Injury #2: Pain Under Three Little Toes

    Pain under the three little toes is another common foot pain experienced by runners.

    When you have this condition, when you press your fingers at the area between the ball of your foot and your toes, you will feel some pain.

    This condition is usually caused by coming down way too hard on your foot while running. Pounding your foot too hard will cause bursitis to develop.

    Your foot has a cushion, known as a bursa, to protect your foot. When you pound your feet too hard for too long, the bursa becomes irritated/inflamed, which they call bursitis.

    How to Treat Pain under Three Little Toes?
    To relieve the pain under the three little toes, use footpads to take some pressure from the area. You can use metatarsal pads.

    You will want to place the padding behind the ball of your foot to cushion the pounding.

    To find the area that is painful press the toes backwards, pressing until you locate the painful spot.

    Use tape to secure the pad directly behind this area.

    How to Prevent Pain Under Three Little Toes
    Although metatarsal pads are likely to relieve the painful symptoms, the underlying cause of your pain should also be adressed!

    This type of foot pain is usually caused by an imbalance in the foot which is not corrected by your current shoes. Again, this can be caused by wearing the wrong running shoes. Or maybe your running shoes have too many miles on them, which has made them lose their cushioning.

    Can't find the right shoes easily? Then visit a podiatrist to get some professional help.

    Foot Injury #3: Metatarsal Stress Fracture

    Experiencing a metatarsal stress fracture?
    Foot Pain
    Then you will need to visit an orthopedist or podiatrist.

    This is a foot pain that is not remedied on your own.

    A metatarsal stress fracture causes pain that will run over the top side of your foot.

    It runs along those long thin bones leading to the toes.

    These long bones are the metatarsals.

    You are likely to experience swelling and redness as well as extreme pain. Pressing along the bone shaft, first on one side and then the other causes a stabbing pain.

    Experience this sort of foot pain? Then you may have bruised or even broken the metatarsals during a stressful run. You should stop running and visit an orthopedist or podiatrist right away.

    Why? Well, your doctor will alter his advice depending on which bone is fractured, where the fracture is in the bone and how serious the fracture is.

    Also see my stress fractures page for some more info on stress fractures.

    As you see, it is not unusual to experience some foot pain as a runner. 

    Learn to identify the different types of foot pain.

    This will help you etermine if you can fix it yourself or if you need to seek the help of a physician.

    Keep in mind that your running technique is an important way to decrease your chances of injury.

    Check out the following links for more information about running technique:

  • running strides

  • Note that on this page I am just talking about some of the foot injuries you can get when not wearing the proper runners.

    But there are also plenty of lower leg and knee problems that can be caused by your running shoes.

    So, make sure you have got the right shoes for your feet. The link above will provide you with ample detail on how to choose the right running shoes. Using those tips, you should be able to eliminate the foot pain issues described above.

    Wish to get more running tips?
    Subscribe to the Best Running Tips Newsletter or to my site blog.

    Go from Foot Pain Page to Running Injuries Page

    Go from Foot Pain Page to Best Running Tips Homepage

    Running Injuries
    Running Injury Prevention
    Foot Injuries: Foot Pain | Black Toenail | Stress Fractures | Posterior Tibial Tendonitis |
    Heel Injuries: Heel Pain | Achilles Tendinitis | Heel Spur / Plantar Fasciitis |
    Knee Injuries: Knee Pain | Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB) |
    Leg Injuries: Leg / Calf Cramps | Shin Splints | Hamstring Injury | Hip Pain
    Upper Body Injuries: Nipple Chafing | Side Stitch | Back Pain | Chest Pain

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