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1518 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: May 30, 2011 9:57 AM by JamesJohnsonLMT RSS
daisy92 Rookie 3 posts since
May 28, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

May 28, 2011 1:18 PM

awkward feeling in ball of foot...

Hi! I am a 19 year old college runner who (thankfully!) does not deal with injury that much.  I have minor compartment syndrome in my legs, but I am able to manage it very well.  This morning however, I woke up with a very strange feeling in the ball of my foot. It almost felt like I was stepping in something small, but there was nothing there! It did not hurt, even when I pressed on it or walked around.  I later went for a run, and felt totally fine, didn't even notice it, even though I ran 6 miles at 7:10 pace, which is pretty quick for me at this stage in my training. It didn't hurt afterwards either.  I iced it twice, and it feels as though maybe it's going away, but I am not sure. Has anyone ever felt this before? Thanks!

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,267 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. May 28, 2011 2:08 PM (in response to daisy92)
    Re: awkward feeling in ball of foot...

    I've had something like that from time to time.  I don't know what causes it.  I thought it might be Morton's Neuroma, but it never really hurts.  And it goes away for weeks or months at a time.  Sorry I can't help you more than that.

     

    Len





    Len

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,127 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. May 29, 2011 6:13 PM (in response to daisy92)
    Re: awkward feeling in ball of foot...

    A likely scenario for someone in the middle of their college running    career is the kind of "mild" compartment syndrome that is brought on  by   excessive exercise, resulting in nerve pressure and associated    various dysesthesias that can mask what is  really going on. Chances are   it has everything to do with the above and  nothing to do with the  ball  of your foot per se, while several muscles and/or nerves in the  lower  leg that influence the ball of the foot are bound to be  impacted  by any  measurable level of compartment syndrome. Pressure on the deep  peroneal  nerve, for example, can result in isolated symptoms pretty  close to where you are talking about. Altered sensation in the first web  space between the first two toes is not unheard of.

     

    Was   this condition (CS) diagnosed by needle insertion?  Did your   physicians/trainers mention the connection to overtraining,  sudden   increases in training level, and/or consistent training at too  high a   level? You stated being "pretty quick .. at this stage" in your   training. Try to envision your condition if it progresses through your    senior year. I am sure you have been made aware of the consequences of    compartment syndrome on muscle health and what hangs in the balance.  If  these symptoms persist, or new problems like "drop foot" or  noticeable  changes in gait, footstrike, or hip flexion become evident,  you are  going to need to take a break to think this over. Potential  death of  muscle tissue for the glory of the team is not what you are  training, or  in school for.

     

    If  the condition was  diagnosed by measuring pain on  passive stretching of  the first toe  and/or weakness of active flexion,  you can be thankful to  have this  early warning. Talk with your trainer  to see if there are  other  workout plans involving less tempo mileage,  maybe short repeat   challenges with adequate recovery and easier long  runs to keep your   base. Hammering away for 45 minutes at a time might  not be the best way   to deal with your condtion, and imo is likely to  make it worse. I say   "condition" because someone told you what you  "have," and likely  where it  could lead, regardless of whether it really  bothers you a lot  in the  early stages, or even concerns you yet. Your  posting in this  forum is a  good sign. Continue to inquire; CS is not to  be taken  lightly, much less  by any athlete.

     

    Meanwhile, look into  talking with someone familiar with "myofascial  release" techniques,   which are a proprietary system of therapies  designed to deal with   fascial compartments and their associated  restrictions and pathologies.  Don't take  this snapshot in time as a  given, or as genetic destiny.  There are ways of changing your luck. You  are not alone,  and there are  plenty of other collegiate athletes in  this make-or-break  situation. I  wish all schools had the same resources  as professional athletes do.   We know the money is always an issue with  endurance sports, but the  motivation can be weak with an endless supply of young athletes coming  onto the field.  Regardless, your health going forward is primarily your  responsibility.  Continue to think ahead. Best of luck to you, and  thanks for joining a  forum where other runners benefit from your  experiences, good or bad.

     

    One more thing: If you habitually cross your legs while sitting, stop!

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,127 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. May 30, 2011 9:57 AM (in response to daisy92)
    Re: awkward feeling in ball of foot...

    re: foam roller, yes, if there is any neuropatholgy associated with a  likely case of early compartment syndrome, there could be some  exacerbation due to relentless pressure on the affected nerves, be they  cutaneous or even deep motor-related. While I am obviously a big fan of  massage, my beef with foam rollers is that they are inherently  unspecific in that they spread pressure out into unrelated areas. I  prefer more focused work, some of which can be diagnostic when areas  "light up" in response to specific pressure near a responsible nerve.

     

    I  am happy to hear you have adjusted your training load, since we too  often hear otherwise in the med-tent forum. There are two things I would  do at this point: (1) Because of what is at stake, revisit the  diagnostic procedures that led to the earlier diagnosis, in a way that  does not cause undue concern resulting in them benching you. Just make  it clear that you want to be informed about the progress of a possible  condition in order to optimize your training. The next thing I would do  is (2) focus your self-directed remedial action to address exactly what  they find, if anything. I worry about what athletes may do to themselves  when left alone with a foam roller, some nagging pain, and unlimited  time to make things worse. This is always a risk with self-directed  therapies, although I am also a proponent of diy therapies of all kinds,  to fill in the gaps not financially available to most non-professional  athletes, and to improve outcome. The operative word is "improve.

     

    Also, if you foam roll, you must take care to apply pressure on the proximal (toward the heart) stroke  only, to avoid adversely affecting the semi-lunar valves in your  lymphatic vessels and veins that are most common in your distal  extremities. This is one of the dangers of diy therapies like rollers.

     

    There  are no doubt key portions of your fascia that can be expanded to  accommodate muscular development as you continue to grow into your sport  physically. Exppect a different kind of pain during this process. While  I am on that subject, I am reminded of a few older posts about  sensations in the ball of the foot that can be harbingers of bunions. I  used to run regularly with a former collegiate runner who had developed a  bunion in one of her feet and was pondering remedial surgery at the  time. Another poster referred to developing bunions after 6 years of  competitive running. It doesn't just happen overnight; there are signs.  See if a sports podiatrist can evaluate you. Sometimes an MRI is the  best way to detect this, though they are priced out of reality for most  of us in this country. Check my post on bunions here:http://community.active.com/message/1002074#1002074

     

    I look at areas of your leg that are served by different nerves, available via wikipedia:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e9/Gray826and831.svg/399px-Gray826and831.svg.png

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/43/Gray835.png/250px-Gray835.png

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