Health and Fitness

How to manage top of foot pain in runners?

Running is not actually a pain free activity and as much as 75% of runners might get an overuse injury every year. More often that not that overuse injury is not really enough to prevent them training and they usually just have to back away a bit and use some modest treatments to let it heal up. At times the injury is serious enough that it forces the runner to quit on the running. There are several injuries that might happen to athletes, affecting numerous areas of the lower limb. Among the more common injuries is what has become known non-technically as “top of foot pain” or ToFP. Technically this is what's called dorsal interosseous compression syndrome. This is an overuse injury that causes pain on top of the foot, usually around the highest area of the arch of the foot. This typically occurs in barefoot runners and also athletes who are more likely to forefoot strike rather then heel strike first whenever they are running. Running this way will probably try and push the front foot upwards on the rearfoot resulting in the jamming of the bones of the dorsum of the foot, bringing about the pain in that place.

At first this is managed with ice to deal with the inflammation and possibly anti-inflammatory medications to settle it down. Almost all runners will need to scale back on their weekly mileage also to help settle it down. The best way to take care of this pain on the top of the foot is to work with more of a heel strike when running and make use of foot orthotics to keep the rearfoot up so the jamming in the midfoot does not happen. While the change in running technique may very well be an effective way to help this, it is not easy to perform, which is usually avoided at first to try and treat the issue without doing that. In the event the other approaches are unsuccessful, then a change in the running technique is most likely recommended.

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