Forefoot Pain in Runners

At TFC Podiatry, our clinics are in the western suburbs of Melbourne, Point Cook and Yarraville, where running is one of the most common ways to stay active. Running can be one of the most convenient and effective ways of getting fit. Unfortunately running also comes with risk of injury to the body. Foot and ankle complaints make up a large percentage of these injuries.

Over the next month, we will be talking about forefoot pain.

Forefoot pain in runners is very common and is also referred to as pain into the ball of the foot. The ball of the foot is a very high-pressure area and has to withstand a lot of weight with each step while running. Like most areas in the body, the forefoot can and does adapt to running load over time. This means that the most common time to have pain in the forefoot is when training levels are increasing too quickly, too soon.

The bottom of the foot is a unique area to consider in runners. This is due to the fact that the bottom of the foot is the only weight-bearing surface that gets ground reaction force when running. 

As this is such a unique area, treating conditions in this area can also be unique. With the option of utilising footwear, orthotics and other techniques with the ability to change the pressure areas under the foot, there are lots of successful techniques to help treat and prevent forefoot pain in runners.

In runners, pain in the ball of the foot is usually by either trauma or a high level of pressure/ground reaction force. When this level of pressure starts to cause damage, the tissue usually responds with pain. Most often in runners, forefoot pain tends to be a gradual onset pain over a few weeks or months. Without treatment, pain tends to continue to get gradually worse which can force extended rest upon some patients.

Pain relief for high-pressure areas is our main focus when it comes to treatment, we want you back on your feet as soon, and as long, as possible.

In runners, there are a few factors that influence the pressure that goes through the ball of the foot, which can include:

  • Foot posture
  • Footwear type
  • Running type (e.g rear-footed vs forefooted)
  • Running surfaces
  • Experience with running
  • Big toe function
  • Further individual factors

As there are many factors to consider when treating runners for pain in the ball of the foot, we always advise having an assessment to gain an accurate diagnosis for your condition and a personalized treatment plan. This ensures that you have the best chance to continue running while your pain improves.

Each patient we see receives customised treatment plans. For all of our runners and highly-active patients, your  individual goals, pain, diagnosis, and lifestyle, determine your treatment plan.

Common treatments include:

All of these treatments are available at TFC Podiatry in both Point Cook and Yarraville. Book an appointment for an assessment and start your treatment process today!