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  • August 10, 2022

What can cause pain on the top of the foot?

Running isn't necessarily a pain free activity and up to 75% of runners will get an injury each year. More often that not this injury is not really enough to prevent them exercising and they usually just have to back off a bit and make use of some minimal treatments to let it get better. In some cases the exercise related injury is significant enough that this forces the runner to discontinue on the running. There are many different injuries that might happen to athletes, impacting numerous areas of the lower limb. One of the most prevalent injuries is what has become called non-technically as “top of foot pain” or ToFP. Medically this is called dorsal interosseous compression syndrome. This is an injury which causes pain on top of the foot, commonly about the highest point of the arch of the foot. This typically occurs in barefoot runners and runners who are more likely to forefoot strike instead of heel strike first whenever they are running. Running using this method tends to try and drive the front foot upwards on the rearfoot resulting in the jamming of the bones of the dorsum of the foot, producing the pain in that area.

To begin with it is treated with ice to deal with the inflammation and perhaps anti-inflammatory medicines to settle it down. The majority of runners will need to cut back on their weekly distances run to also help settle top of foot pain down. The ideal way to take care of this is to use more of a heel strike when running and use foot supports to help keep the rearfoot up so the jamming in the midfoot doesn't happen. Even though the alteration of running technique may just be an effective way to help this, it's not easy to perform, which is commonly avoided at first to try and take care of the issue without doing that. If the other approaches do not work, then a change in the running method is most likely advised.

Roberta Garcia

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