Plantar niggle

I’ve had a few niggles with this recently but symptoms don’t seem to sit particularly true with a lot of the feedback / diagnoses online.  I wonder whether anyone who’s suffered similarly can offer advice.  In short:

A fortnight ago I noticed a slight discomfort in the arch of my right foot.

Whether of any relevance, this comes six months after moving from a mildly supported Mizuno shoe (Wave Inspire) to a neutral Mizuno shoe (Ultima) on the recommendation of a Mizuno rep.  I’m a mild over pronator.

The discomfort was mentioned to my sports masseuse who attacked a couple of ridges in my plantar.  After a couple of days rest I’ve gone on to run 20-30 miles including a half marathon.

The plantar grumble continues but has not worsened.

It is limited to my midfoot (centre and towards the arch).  I have rubbed by hand, with golf ball, applied ice, taken NSAIDs, stretched calf, soleus and plantar itself (pushing toes against the wall).  Nothing has improved the situation.

By and large the issue doesn’t present itself as more than a niggle, unless running when a medium discomfort / ache prevails.  It’s occasionally stiff but no more so in morning (as is often referenced) than any other time of the day.

Oddly (and this may be completely irrelevant) curling my big toe under my foot tends to provoke the discomfort.

Vagaries over, if anyone can offer their recommendations (amputation not yet on cards) they would be greatly appreciated although with VLM and IMA in coming months, no references to “rest” please…


  • I think the big toe is relevant ... there is a certain strength exercise for the plantar tendon which will include scrunching a towel under your feet .. so therefore if curling your big toe causes discomfort then this would back that up

    A lot of achilles/plantar problems will come from tight calfs, and further up the leg and you are right to work on releasing them, did the sports massage bring any tightness to light ?

    As you will know this is a tough old tendon connected to a tough old tendon .. it takes time to recover and will take a lot of stretching and releasing

    As to if it is connected to the shoes, why not after a period of time try the other shoes and see if the problem persists

    With my achilles issues I have found that ice massage works well along with stretching and massaging

  • Thanks for quick response Meldy.

    Sports massage (conducted this week by physio - who didn't offer any insight) found no tightness in calf and a relaxed Achilles.

    I will go back to running in a pair of my old Mizuno Wave Inspire (I have another HM this weekend) and see whether than makes a difference.

  • to me it doesn't sound like a classic plantar problem - it's too far forward and usually something like plantar fasciitis will give you serious pain under the heel on standing 1st thing in the morning, as the fascia will have relaxed overnight

    it might have something to do with the flexor hallucis longis tendon which sits alongside the plantar tendon and is involved in bending the big toe - inflammation of that is sometimes caused by a change of technique or running shoes.  some info on it here -

    as Meldy suggests go back to the other shoes and see how it responds and then decide

  • Thanks FB.  Having read article on the other end of the link you provided I'm pretty sure the issue doesn't relate to flexor hallucis.  The tenderness runs pretty much up the middle of my foot and slightly in towards arch.

    It is an oddity that big toe being curled under foot can provoke the issue.  The toe tendon having a tendency to click in the process.  I may have to shell out some more hard earned cash having physios work through the problem.  It's always a frustration the time it takes to identify the issue, before even considering a solution.

    I'm praying a week off running, NSAIDs orally and in gel, along with some icing will miraculously make the issue disappear.  Stranger things have happened.

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    I thought it sounded like FHL too. Do you mean it hurts when you actively scrunch your big toe under, or when you do it passively, eg with your hand? Also, does it hurt when you stretch the tendon (by using your fingers to bend the toe"backwards")?

    Meldy has a bit of a thing about Achilles tendons as hers are particularly old and decrepit.

  • I saw that you old witch    image

  • Although not all the time, the big toe clicks when I curl it under unassisted.  I have ruled out FHL because the tenderness in sole is pretty much in the middle of my foot, nowhere near ankle.

    Having not swum, ran or cycled for a week, the pain has gone, unless I prod foot, which is still mildly tender.

    I am hoping to churn out a quick (for me) HM on Sunday.  Will report back with consiquences.

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    ... She's also very sensitive about it, and prone to abusive outbursts image!

    PRW the tendon of FHL runs from the inner side of the ankle, going under the foot to reach the big toe. It can get injured anywhere, but esp where it crosses the tendons that flex the lesser toes, right in the middle of the foot. But as it's getting better, it doesn't' matter anyway. Fingers crossed it stays good.

  • So it seems my foot doesn’t like me running.


    A week of rest (a little ice and a lot of gel based NSAIDs) made the problem disappear.  Unprovoked by cycling and only a minor issue after swimming (presumably from pushing off wall).


    Sunday’s half marathon came around and immediately the ache returned.  No pain, just an annoying awareness of the issue.  The rear half of arch was tender to touch afterwards and curling big toe under foot cause a creaking sensation.  A small ridge in tendon had also become more noticeable.  I’m pretty sure there was a painless snapping noise when I stood up this morning, from injured right foot but not left.


    I am going to have to look at pissablity FHL might be cause of issue.


    I have an hour being butchered by sports masseuse this evening and will be putting hand in pocket again later in the week to see physio specialising in lower limb issues.


    The cynic in me has already figured out the prescriptive treatment:


    Rest from running.

    Get orthotics.


    Neither of which I am excited about.  Grrr.

  • 'pissability'    image    

    The liklihood of impending injury 

  • joddlyjoddly ✭✭✭

    Wonderful word - so many potential uses!

    btw, "creaking" is a pretty clear sign of inflammation around a tendon. Have you tried hitting it hard with ibuprofen? Probably needs a bit more rest than you've given it recently!

  • This week is to be spent mostly butchering my foot intermittently with physio's hands or golf ball (the latter being considerably cheaper).

    More ibuprofen (oral & gel) and ice.

    Chucked into the mix I'm sure there will be a great deal of moping and inaudible angry remarks about broken bits of my body. Mainly by footy parts.
  • Robbie, I had symptoms the same as you. Pain in the centre - arch of foot.My wife is a sports masseuse and it was plantar fascitus (spelt wrong). My calf wasn't tight but the small muscles running on the outside and inside of the calf/shin were.

    Plenty of work with a golf ball and massage of the calf including sides. Do some of it yourself rather than paying a fortune.

    Don't rule out Budhas suggestion. Mine developed into tarsal tunnel syndrome because the muscle that runs beside the FHL was tight which caused a lot of the problem for my Plantar. Meldy is right when she says it takes time.

    Work made me see a physio who told me complete rest and stuck needles in my foot. In the end I ignored her and did what my wife told me (as apparently she is always right). She told me to man up and do some gentle running with supportive trainers. Slowly but surely it improved.

  • Cheers Coops.

    Sports masseuse alleviated a lot of the pain when I saw him on Monday.  After another week of rest, ice and NSAIDs I cannot feel the problem and it's a lot harder to provoke.  Although right knuckle of big toe still clicks.

    I am biking as much as I can (shoes have arch supports) and that's OK.

    Appointment with lower limb physio on Monday and praying she'll explain how to fix me, quickly.

    The two unfortunate outcomes are that:

    (a) I have had to withdraw from VLM else stupidity would have seen me push through and do more damage before IMA.

    (b) I have a brand new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 17's -  I say new, they've done precisely 19.1 miles - which I must find a new home for as they lack the arch support I required.  Anyone know if I'm allowed to throw up post on forum or will I have my sea-salty Piratey nuts chopped off?

  • Told I am wonky (who isn't) and that I should be doing some strengthening exercises for feet but problem undiagnosed.

    Oh and guess what, "orthotics might be good for my feet" apparently.

    I think I might just have it amputated to save the hassle.


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