Pain In Toes When Running?


I've recently started running and have started having pains in my left foot when running, specifically the toes. It feels as though my three middle toes (Not the biggest or smallest) have pain right along the left of them, but theres nothing of the sort with my right foot.

Any ideas what could be causing this? Thanks in advance for your replies


  • Might seem a silly question - but what kind of pain is it? Sometimes my toes hurt as they tend to curl inwards almost, and so the toenails very easily rub against the other (ended up with bleeding feet without realising on a number of occasions). So could it be your toes rubbing against each other? Maybe try individually plastering them before a rub and see if that helps? Sorry, not much help, but try to identify whether its the toes themselves or something more shoe-related.

  • Thanks for the reply RWTW.

    Its difficult to describe the pain, it kind of feels like my toe bones are aching. There is no chafing or marks on my toes, so I don't think it is a case of them rubbing together. It only happens when im running, walking and cycling etc is fine.

  • I get a similar thing every now and then after about 45 minutes of running. It normally passes after another 15 minutes or so. It feels like the toes are tightening or a bit bruised, not quite cramp. In my case, it's not toe nails, just an odd sensation.

  • Yeah bruised is quite a good way of putting it. For me it happens around 20-30 minutes in but doesnt really go away until after I stop running. Its not so bad that I cant run but its bad enough that its all I can really think about while im running and it's putting me off in case I'm doing some more long term serious damage to my feet

  • DeanR7DeanR7 ✭✭✭

    i get pain in the foot near the joints of my toes where they meet the main part of the foot.   It feels like bruising and can properly smart if i step on a stone whilst running etc.

    I went to the physio and they said it was metarsalaglia which is basically an inflamation of joints.  i needed to stretch my toes.  using my hands curl my toes towards the balls of my feet.

  • Thanks Dean I guess I'll give that a go, can't hurt really image

    Do you stretch them out before your run, or after? Or both? And has this completely got rid of the problem or do you need to strech them every time to stop if from recurring?


  • Hi all, I was getting the same problem and after about 6 miles had to take my shoes off and straighten my toes out - I thought my toes were curling too much.  For several months, including a marathon I was running in 1/2 size smaller trainers, and wearing x socks running socks, instead of double layered socks and this worked well.  However, the same problem has started again, then I get really hot toes all night as well.  Using some ibruprofen gel before a long run helped a bit but I would like to find out the reason - my physio says that tight calves can sometimes be the problem.  This isn't much help to anyone but it is reassuring to know thatg I'm not the only one!

  • Seek advice; physiotherapist, podietrist, gp.  The larger shoes idea sounds good, you should always go half a size over day wear.  However what you describe is pretty unusual.  If running causes pain, cross train until you sort it.

  • Sounds like you have a Morton's Neuroma, a condition that affects one of the nerves that run between the metatarsal bones in the foot. Symptoms include pain, burning, numbness and tingling between two of the toes of the foot.  I've had one for about 6 years and you just have to manage the problem.  As soon as I stop exercising the pain subsides and you wouldn't know there was a problem.  It comes on after around 20-30 mins.

    I manage mine by reducing any restriction in my footwear, socks etc.  I've pretty much tried everything but found that wide fitting trainers and very loose sock or bare feet is the best way.  Some makes of trainers such as New Balance just don't suit and agravate almost immediately.

    In extreme circumstances you can have invasive surgery to remove the offending nerve but that's not for me.

    Google Morton's Neuroma for details.


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