People run funny. It’s true. If you’ve ever set up camp next to a track and watched the funny mammals go round and round then you’ll know that you don’t need retinal scanning to uniquely identify someone – you just have to watch their running gait. (Although I hear it’s hard to make dead bodies run so perhaps there is still a need for fingerprinting and the like. Or Voodoo.) I remember one woman at our Y known solely by the moniker “Pam Who Runs On Her Toes.” And Pam was truly a sight to see, boinging up and down around the track like a gazelle wearing moon boots. Her legend lives on passed down from runner to runner despite the fact that I don’t think she’s worked out there for 3 years now.
The net result of all this weird running – besides good stories – is weird foot pain. While I myself have experienced shin splints and corns, and the Gym Buddies have had bouts of plantar fascitis, Reader Joshua’s (of TechnicalParent) pain was all new:
I’ve never been a runner. Exercise wasn’t something my parents instilled in me as a child. So, I’ve just started running and am kind of enjoying it. The only problem is that my feet are starting to hurt; not the arches, but the tops of my feet close to my toe joints. Do you know anything about the physiology of running? Am I doing this wrong in some way (obviously)? I guess I mean in terms of hitting the ground too hard, or not using my full foot and putting too much weight on the balls of my feet. Any help/advice would be appreciated, mostly by my feet, but the rest of me, too.
I replied oh-so-helpfully with three suggestions:
Congrats on taking up running! I’m glad you are enjoying it so far! I’m not an expert on foot pain but I do have a few ideas for you to consider:
1. Your shoes. Are they old? Are they actually running shoes (not cross trainers)?
2. Your stride. Have you ever had your stride analyzed? Are you a mid-foot striker? A heel-striker? Heaven help you, a toe runner? Most specialty running stores will analyze your gait for free and give you suggestions to make it more efficient.
3. Stretching. After each run, do “towel pick ups” to strenghten and stretch your toes. Drop a hand towel on the floor and then pick it up using your toes. Repeat… oh I don’t know, a bunch of times:) I also like to write the alphabet with each foot to stretch my shins & feet.
Don’t continue to run on it though if the pain is getting worse!
I should have just said, “Wow you’re a freak! I’ve never heard of that!” and then shut up because really I have no idea. But I bet one of you knows what he’s talking about! Have you ever had weird foot pain while running? Did you run through it or take a rest? What did you do to get past it?