Extensor tendonitis?

Hi All,

I'm hoping someone might be able to give me a bit of advice: I’m running the Brighton Marathon in 3 weeks time and am due to do my final long run before taper this weekend.

However, last week I had to cut my long run short due to pain in the top of my foot. It wasn’t excruciating, but bad enough to make me stop running. When I got home and took my trainers off, it felt like my foot was creaking when I moved my toes.

A lot of googling later and I’m pretty sure that I have extensor tendonitis. I reluctantly haven’t run since (5 days now - although have been doing a bit of cross training in the gym) and have been icing it and using an ibuprofen gel.

The pain and creaking are gradually getting better, but my question is when should I start running again? Has anyone run through this injury? Is there anything else that I could be doing to make it heal faster so that I can get back out there and still achieve my target time in the race?

Thanks for any advice!


  • Rest. Unfortunately, tendons take time to heal. All you can do is RICE (+/- ibuprofen or diclofenal gel) and wait, I'm afraid. If your training schedule has included sufficient long runs, then missing one shouldn't affect your marathon too much - just think of it as a forced longer-than-intended taper. I say this as someone who had to do no running for three weeks before her first marathon, last spring, due to piriformis syndrome (and yes,that drove me nuts). I was less than three minutes outside my target time on the day and I put that slower time down to the appalling weather conditions (it was the Greater Manchester Marathon, in very cold conditions with gale force winds, rain and hail) not to the longer taper.

    I did have the advantage that I'd trained for and run a 50K 10 weeks before the marathon, so I knew I could do the distance.

    Good luck!

  • Hi Kyajay,i had extensor tendonitus last oct and had a month complete rest. This seemed to do the trick along with tying my shoes differently.http://www.ransacker.co.uk/running-shoes/advice/how-to-lace-your-running-shoes/.

    Hope this helps.


  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I've had tendonitis of the extensor hallucis longus tendon.  The pain from it does last several months unfortunately, but it didn't hamper me too much.  The common cause of it is shoe laces done up too tightly, especially on long runs when your feet swell.  Mine happened with about 9 miles of the West Highland Way to do and I couldn't be bothered to loosen my shoes.  I think I was past caring about anything by that point!


    So, I'd advise carrying on exercise at a lower intensity doing up your shoes much more loosely, as loose as you can get away with, and see how you get on.  In the short term while the area is swollen you will want to avoid uphills. Toe raises would be a good exercise to do.


    A few sessions of deep tissue massage from a therapist would also help.

  • Thanks everyone! Will relace my shoes to see if that helps and book myself in for a sports massage this week.

    After a week off running it was feeling a lot better, so I did a six mile test run this morning. It felt fine while I was out there, but about an hour after getting back, some pain and some mild creaking has returned. It's so frustrating!

    I've done three 20 milers in the past few weeks, but the last one was two weeks ago, so 5 weeks before the actual marathon and I'm worried that that is just TOO long a taper and I'll lose too much fitness to do myself justice on the day.

    Am I likely to do any lasting damage if I do carry on with my training (but at a lower intensity), or should I just do a couple more short runs in the next few weeks and hope for the best?

    Thanks for your help!

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I'd keep going, but with loose shoes.  Don't do the "butterfly" lacing.  I suppose by toe raises, I meant heel raises!  Raising on your toes over the edge of a step.  Be a bit gentle at first with heel lowering but stretching and having flexible calves will help in the long term.


    Good luck in Brighton.  Let us know how you get on.

  • In case there's a pressure elemnt to this, try the following: get a piece of chiropodist's felt and cut it to about an inche per side larger than the painful area. Now cut a hole out the middle, the same size as the painful area. Tape the felt onto your foot (micropore, zinc oxide tape or whatever) before each run - that should keep the pressure off the tendons. I've found this really useful previously. (Use tape to stick it on so you can reuse the same bit of felt repeatedly, which you can't do if you use the felt's own sticky backing).

    And okay, five weeks may be too long a taper, so try a run with the padding like I suggest, and see if you can do at least one more long run. Good luck!

  • Hi all - restarting this thread as I'm keen to hear runners' advice on this! I'm about to hit my third week of what seems to be extensor tendonitis (inflamed/swollen top of foot just under toes; worse in the morning and eases as the day goes on; walking painful as can't bend second and third toe properly): is it a good idea to strap the foot up or is further compression a bad idea? I've had conflicting advice on this. Thanks!

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