Foot injury

can anyone give me some advise on a persistent foot injury I've got? I've been running for around 4 years and have never had a problem with my feet. A few months ago my left foot felt very painfull along the top of it after a long run. I thought it might be a stress fracture so I rested up for 4 wks then went for a short run and the pain came back. I also started getting severe pain at the back of my heel. This seems to subside after walking on it. I rested up again for 6 weeks then tried a short run and again the pain came back. I went for an x-ray but there were no signs of a stress fracture nor what they all hotspots where a fracture might be about to occur. I did an 8 mile run on saturday and by the end of it I was in severe pain. Strange thing is when i stopped running the pain subsided fairly quickly and today feels absolutely fine. I'm signed up for the Berlin marathon at the end of September but I doubt i'll be able to do it at this rate as I can't train properly. I'm at a loss as to what the problem is. 


  • Consider the following for the top-of-foot pain:

    1) Extensor tendonitis (look it up).

    2) Pressure point. Seriously, if it subsides that fast after you stop running, it may simply be that your shoe laces are pressing on your tendons. Try loosening your laces, tying them in a different pattern, or loosening and taping some padding onto your foot in a ring/donut shape so there's a hole in the padding over where it hurts, taking the pressure off that area. Pressure point is also a possibility for back-of-heel pain and is solved in the same way (padding taped on in such a way that there's no pressure). Apart from trying the padding, one way to test for pressure points is to find a nice field with short grass, take your shoes off and try running barefoot. If it doesn't hurt, then pressure points are likely to be the problem (don't run too far barefoot if you are not already running minimalist or anyway midfoot/forefoot landing - maybe run until it starts to hurt then take off your shoes and try 400 metres without them).

  • thanks for the advise Debra. I thought it might be tendonitis. It's definitely not my laces being too tight I always do them the same. I've booked in to go see someone about it anyway but thanks for getting back to me. 

  • Be interested to see how you get on with this. Do you have a tight calf at all? Down the outside of it? What about the front of your leg? I had a similar problem where I thought it may be stress fracture, but the pain kept coming back after lots of rest. i researched and eventually came up with the Peroneus Brevis muscle that runs from the front of your leg round the back of your ankle into your foot. Lots of stretching and rolling the calf and front of leg seems to have sorted it!

  • Hi Frazer,

    It might well be tendonitis but the question I would ask is why did it come on in the first place?

    Lots of people run and don't get tendonitis. There is something about the way you use your body which has caused this and if you go after the symptom with massage or taping or resting, then you aren't addressing the root cause, so it might come back or show up somewhere else when you run, such as your right foot, or knee, or hip etc.

    Foot problems during running are frequently due to striking the ground in an unnatural way. It puts an immense about of strain on the ligaments, muscles and fascia. They work overtime and eventually say "no more! I need a break" and the way they communicate this to you is through pain. 

    The reason for the incorrect foot strike could be lots of things. Firstly, have a look in the mirror wearing shorts. Do you feet and knees point straight ahead or to they angle in or out? If your feet angle out then they will strike the ground with the inside of the foot giving them a real bashing. Furthermore, if they angle out along with your knees, this is because your hip muscles (glutes, adductors, quads and lateral rotators) are not balanced. This will effect the entire lower limb chain and mean your feet get less support than they should.

    Another possible cause is that your arches have dropped in one or both of your feet and this causes lots of problems.

    I'd recommend getting a book called 'Pain Free' by a man called Pete Egosuce. It will have exercises in it which will help you. Or alternatively visit a Postural Alignment Specialist.

    Hope you get better and if you have any questions feel free to ask me.

    Ameet Bhakta

    Postural Alignment Specialist (Egoscue Method)


  • Hi I know this is an old post but I am experiencing exactly the same thing. I had an x ray which was clear but I could barely walk or put any pressure on my foot so was sent for a bone scan that came back saying just wear and tear! The doctors receptionist told me this. The pain is on top of my foot just below my little toe and sometimes down the side. I've tried ice, massage, rest etc just like you. Have you ever got to the bottom of the problem? I've not gone running for about 8 weeks now, although my foot is still uncomfortable I'm going to splash out and get some good trainers that offer a LOT of cushioning and hope it works. I'm training for the Cardiff Half Marathon in October and I really don't want to let anyone down.
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