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1709 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: Sep 5, 2013 6:58 PM by wahooka
wahooka Rookie 4 posts since
Oct 19, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 24, 2013 6:26 AM

Pain in the Toe

My wife has been running for several years. She runs 12 miles a week or so and is at a moderate pace. She has been complaining for a while now about pain in her toes. The pain is on the bottom of the toes and it almost sounds like pain is caused by the repeated pushing off during her running. The toes feel sensitive almost like they are forming blisters.I know this is not the best description, but was the only way i could describe.


We have tried:


new shoes and even different types of shoes. Each time getting fitted and a good running store (fleet feet and Raleigh running outfitters)

different socks



tried altering stride

voodoo (the chicken wasn't happy about this)



We are wondering if anyone has had this problem and corrected it or has any suggestions that we haven't thought of.



  • shipo Legend 499 posts since
    Aug 9, 2013
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 24, 2013 7:00 AM (in response to wahooka)
    Pain in the Toe

    Does the skin actually blister or even show any signs of distress and friction?


    • If yes, then I would use petroleum jelly between the toes before running.
    • If no, then it sounds like a nerve issue that makes it feel like the toes are burning up.


    I've had both conditions, and needless to say, the nerve issue is harder to diagnose and solve (chiropractor and/or orthopedic surgeon).


    Keep us posted.


    Best regards,


    Fat old man PRs:

    • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
    • 2-mile: 13:49
    • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
    • 5-Mile: 37:24
    • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
    • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
    • Half Marathon: 1:42:13
  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,291 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Aug 29, 2013 9:15 AM (in response to wahooka)
    Pain in the Toe

    I'm suspicious of the footwear. Is this one of the newer, minimalist shoes she is wearing? Less of a heel means a little more strain when pushing off. She needs to be aware of this, and cut back on the propulsive phase of her stride. She is in recovery, so it is a good time to move back from intermediate pace to an easy, sustainable one. Her body will adjust in time if she gives it the time.


    Abandon time goals and event goals in favor of a survival goal. She wants to focus on recovery and adjustment, trusting her body to get stronger even when she is not pushing it. There will be plenty of time to progress after she recovers.


    Gait analysis by a professional is advised at this point, since she might be suffering from a gradual build-up of wear and tear, due to running technique not suited to her anatomy. If the experimentation has not been productive, get some professional advise here from a qualified sports PT so you waste less time. Bear in mind there is often a substantial time-lag between technique changes and pain. It's sometimes difficult to separate immediate and long-term consequences. Be patient and consistent. Too many changes, too frequently, will only confuse things.


    My guess on the pathology is tightness of plantarflexors, particularly from overuse due to changes to "faster" shoes while pushing the pace. One by itself will tire toe flexor muscles, but both together can set up a pain syndrome under the toes that feels like but does not look like blisters. If foot massage brings no relief, please remember that these muscles are in the rear of the calf, deep to the main calf muscles Soleus and Gastrocnemius, and connected to the toes by long tendons. Concentrate on the inner and center rear-calf.


    Examine her foot with toes pointed downward in a scrunch. Behind where the toes join the foot are the metatarsal heads. Observe whether they line up from small to big toes in a line or gradual curve, or whether there is a noticeable elongation of the second metatarsal next to the big toe. This arrangement is fairly common, but can result in increased discomfort during repetitive-motion sports like running.


    For every problem, there is a solution. Track down the original problems first, then attempt your solution. Good luck, and many happy years of running!

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